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Cornish Saints and Sinners 



By the Same Author 
THE FISHERS 

Crown 8vo. 



CORNISH 

SAINTS & SINNERS 



"^1 J. HENRY HARRIS 

WITH NOMEROUS DRAWINGS BY 

L. RAVEN-HILL 




LONDON. JOHN LANE. THE BODLEY HEAD 
NEW YORK i JOHN LANE COMPANY. MDCCCCVI 



^ 



WILLIAM CLOWES AND SON'S, LlMITBDy LONDON AND BBCCLB5. 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



The Smugglers Frmtisfiece 

The Arms of Cornwall page i 

Father John and the Cider facing „ 6 

Paddling „ 9 

St. Michael's Mount „ lo 

St. Michael and the Conger . . facing „ i6 

The Kbigwin Arms, Mousehole ,i 19 

Dolly Pbntrbath facing „ iz 

Land's End ,,27 

Light Winds „ 35 

Ashore » 36 

The Village Shop, Mousehole . . . facing „ 36 

Smugglers »« 43 

A Short Cut facing „ 48 

Lanyon Quoit „ 55 

Padstow facing „ 60 

Cottage, St. Ives » 63 

King Tewdrig and the Saints . . facing „ 64 

St. Ia » i> 66 

St. Agnes » 75 

The Smugglers' Cave n 7^ 

The Legend op the Cheese-wring . facing „ 82 

Truro Cathedral » 84 

<< Taking Snuff and looking Lexicons" . facing „ 88 

The Porch, Launceston Church. if » 9^ 



vi Illustrations 



Smiler*s Pious Cat page 94 

A Cornish Fish-wife feidng „ 98 

A Side Street „ 100 

Old Coinage Street, Penzance ,, 114 

BoscASTLE Harbour facing „ 1x8 

Breton Onion-boy „ 122 

Mevagissey facing „ 126 

A Fish-hawker » 136 

Two Cottages, Mevagissey .... facing „ 144 

An Old Corner, St. Ives ,,147 

On the Sands » 156 

The Pillory, Looe « 157 

Making Crab Pots facing „ 158 

A Tail-piece ,167 

An Alley „ 168 

Old Newlyn . ". facing „ 168 

A Cornish Interior ,,178 

The Old Mill facing „ 178 

Perran Porth ,,187 

GoRRAN Harbour „ 188 

Homeward Bound 197 

Princess Olwen is changed into a Bramble facing „ 202 

POLPERRO n 205 

CaRN BrEA „ 212 

The Chapel Rock, Bude .... Joeing „ 216 

High and Dry „ 222 

"KuKCKED Bals'" (distucd mines) ,,223 

MoRWENSTOW Cliffs facing „ 226 

The Manacles , 232 

<*One day the Devil, having nothing to do. 
Built a great hedge from Lerrin to Looe'" 

facing „ 234 

The Roche Rock „ 237 

Newquat Sands „ 238 

Newquay facing „ 240 



Illustrations vii 



"The Soul of Treg eagle in Pain" . . facing page 244 

Front Doors „ 248 

A Fair Prospect „ 254 

John Burton „ 255 

Barracks Hopp, Falmouth .... facing „ 256 

The Penryn Stocks • „ 263 

St. Goeland and the Sea-gull . . facing „ 268 

The Dog-fish ,,271 

Two Minutes with a Dog-fish . . facing „ 274 

A Street Corner, St. Ives „ 280 

Figure-head of the ^ Caledonia," Morwenstow facing „ 284 

Tintagel >» 291 

Yseult and Tristan ..... facing „ 294 

The Digey ,,298 

King Arthur's Castle facing ,, 298 

Jenefer and Launcelot, Tintagel . . »» » 304 

A Cornish Stile ,, 309 

Low Tide >, 3x2 



CORNISH SAINTS 
AND SINNERS 



Chapter \^ 



E were three. 

Guy Moore, who had scraped 
through his "final/' and eaten 
his call dinner, and talked some- 

times of full-bottomed wigs and 

woolsacks. 
Gcoige Milner, sumamed the " Bookworm." 
Myself. 

It was an old arrangement between Guy and 
myself to go somewhere as soon as the Long 
Vacation commenced, and the Bookworm, a rela- 
tion of Guy's, was included on account of his 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 



health. The doctor told him that if he did not 
take a timely rest now he'd never read all the 
books in the British Museum library, which he 
had set himself to do before going to Paris to 
read there, and then some other place, and so on. 
Bookworms are like that. Our mutual friend was 
an earnest young man, and had the reader s look 
about the eyes; and when he went to bed he 
read unknown books in his sleep. The doctor 
said, " Get him away — plenty of air, plenty of 
walking, no books/' 

We met in Guy's chambers, and talked Corn- 
wall ; but the trouble was with the Bookworm, 
who wanted to take a truck-load of books with 
him. 

We decided on going to Penzance, and then 
rambling just where we would. A visit to the 
land of a lost language attracted the Bookworm, 
who at once added a few score books to be read 
on the spot. 

Guy was appointed guardian of the common 
purse, and empowered to make all arrange- 
ments. 

The books were left behind. 



A splendid day in August we had for our 
run westward. The Bookworm had a corner, 
and by-and-by the spirit of wonder crept over 
him as he looked at the blue skies and the green 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 



grass. There was a world outside of books, 
after all. 

" Here's the briny ! Out with your head, 
man, and suck it all in; it's the wine of life/' 
shouted Guy. 

Up went all the blinds, and down went all the 
windows, and every one who could gazed upon 
the blue sea shoaling into green with white-flaked 
edging on the frizzling sands. It is the custom 
to pay this homage to the sea for being good 
enough to be just where it is, between Starcross 
and Teignmouth. Right and left, the Bookworm 
saw heads thrust out and faces in ecstasy, as 
though the whole human freight of the flying 
train was in rapt adoration. White handker- 
chiefs waved, and the pure voices of children 
trilled spontaneous anthems whenever the vexa- 
tious tunnels permitted them to gaze upon old 
England's symbol of power and freedom* It 
was a new experience to the Bookworm, and it 
surprised him that anything not printed and 
stitched and bound should stir so much emotion. 
It was Nature's book in red sandstone and blue 
sea illuminated by the sun, on which his tired 
eyes rested for a few moments ; he felt refreshed 
by the mere vision, his pulses throbbing with 
new sensations. And when the vision passed in 
the broad valley of the Teign, he asked simply — 

" Is there more of this ? " 

•' Plenty," said Guy, promptly. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 



According to Guy's account, we were to have 
just whatever we liked, when we liked, and where 
we liked. Seascape and moorscape, hill and vale, 
sailing and fishing, riding and driving, and golf- 
ing, and all that sort of thing. And then there 
were certain mysterious regions where we were 
to find tracks of the fairies, and come across odds 
and ends of things, and people too. We were not 
to have any guide-books; he insisted on that. 
What was the good of guide-books to fellows on 
their rambles } Who cared how many yards he 
was from anywhere, or how many miles it was 
from one place to another ? All that was worth 
remembering could be picked up on the spot, and 
then there wouldn't be any danger of everything 
running into one blurred outline of travel, just as 
happened to a fellow after tramping for weeks 
through picture-galleries and curio-shops, and all 
that sort of thing. Guy said he knew a fellow 
who did the whole county most thoroughly guide- 
book in hand. He started from Bude, and did 
the north coast ; and then he turned around and 
did the south coast. He scored his guide-book 
like a chart of navigation, and his marginal 
notes played leap-frog all over the show. 
When he got to Plymouth he lost the precious 
book, and if it wasn't for railway labels and 
hotel bills, he wouldn't have known where he'd 
been. 

A commercial man, having totted up his 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 



accounts, seemed greatly interested in Guy's 
remarks, and glided into the conversation. He 
told us he hadn't had a holiday for thirty years, 
and never expected another in this life. He 
became quite confidential, and gave us his views 
about happiness in the world to come. He 
never intended going "on the road" again for 
a living in the next world, he said, if there 
were any telephones about. He didn't like 
telephones when the boss was always at the 
other end. 

We ran through the apple country, and the 
commercial man said these orchards were simply 
nothing to be compared with those a few miles 
away, where the real Devon cider was made. 
He told some funny stories about cider and its 
makers — the way in which sweet cider was dis- 
covered, and the hand that Old Nick had in the 
matter. 

" It's a short story," said he, good-naturedly. 
'' Old John Bowden had the finest orchard land 
in South Devon, and it appears that in the 
olden times the land was the property of 
Tavistock Abbey, and the good Fathers used 
to come over every season to make cider and 
have a frolic. Sometimes the good old cider, 
being no respecter of persons, got into the good 
Fathers' heads. Now, you must know that the 
best of cider is a trifle sharp to the palate — the 
natives call it ' rough ' — and the Fathers were in 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 



the habit of toning some rare good stuff, reserved 
for high days and holidays, in empty wine-casks. 
One season, the wine-casks falling short, the 
Abbot of Tavistock drew up a sort of prize 
competition, like the magazines do now, offering 
something tasty to the inventor of a process for 
making * rough * cider sweet without the use of 
wine, which, I suppose, worked out expensive, 
and, moreover, encouraged more drinking than 
was allowed under the tippling act. I must now 
tell you that, for a very long time, things hadn't 
gone on smoothly between the monks of Tavi- 
stock Abbey and Old Nick, who was constantly 
prowling about the premises, picking up little 
bits of information, and making the good Fathers 
uncomfortable. Well, he chanced upon this prize 
competition notice on an old door covered over 
with cast horse-shoes and vermin nailed up for 
' good luck,' and to keep his satanic majesty off 
the premises. However, there he was, and read 
the notice. 

•*A very obliging little old man turned up 
at the orchards one season, and offered his 
services, and was taken in to do odd jobs about 
the pound-house, and as he wasn't particular 
about his bed, he was allowed to curl himself 
up in one of the big empty cider-casks. In truth, 
after the work was over for the day, the good 
Fathers had other fish to fry, and thought no 
more about him ; but the strange workman was 



FATHER JOHN AND THE CIDER. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 



most busy when he was supposed to be sound 
asleep. 

" Of all the Fathers of the Abbey, Brother 
John was the keenest on winning the prize 
for turning 'rough' cider into sweet, and he 
spent hours in the pound-house alone, spoiling 
good stuff, without getting one foot forrarder. 
'Dang my old buttons!' said he, after another 
failure. 

''It wasn't so much the language as the 
temper of Brother John which attracted the 
notice of the little old man who slept in the cask, 
and he whispered something which made the 
good brother turn pale and tremble in his shoes. 
He was not above temptation, it is true, but he 
was a brave man for all that, and dissimulated 
so well that the stranger was so off his guard 
as to sleep in his cask and leave one of his cloven 
feet sticking out of the bung-hole. Brother 
John bided his time and covered the bung-hole, 
and then arranged for such a flow of cider into 
the cask upon the sleeping stranger as to settle 
his hash, unless it was the very old Nick himself. 
Old Nick it was, and when he awoke to the 
situation he was so hot with passion that the 
cider bubbled in the cask, and he disappeared, 
leaving the strongest of strong smell of brimstone 
behind. Brother John kept the secret to himself, 
not knowing what might come of it; but when 
he tasted the cider his eyes sparkled, for it was 



8 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

as sweet as honey, and when sweet cider was 
wanted at the Abbey, he used to pour it * rough ' 
upon the fumes of burning sulphur, and, lo and 
behold I it became sweet It was Old Nick who 
gave away the secret to Brother John, who was 
smart enough to learn it A Devon man calls 
sweet cider * matched,' on account of its connection 
with old Brimstone." 

" Did Brother John patent the process ? " 
asked Guy. 

'*No, he didn't, though Old Nick tempted 
him ; but Brother John was too wide awake to 
have his fingers burnt by patent lawyers and 
their agents." 

"Is that story in print?'* asked the Book- 
worm, preparing to make a note for future 
reference. 

" I should say not It's just one of those 
trifles you pick up on the road. Plenty about 
when Old Nick is concerned. They say his 
majesty didn't cross the Tamar in olden days ; 
or, if he did, then he hopped back again in 
double-quick time. That may be, but he's a 
season ticket-holder now, and has good lodgings, 
and I ought to know, for I do business all 
through the country," said the man of samples, 
stepping out of the carriage. 

"A trifle rough on us lawyers," said Guy. 
" Poor beggar has suffered, I suppose." 

Across the bridge, and we are in the land 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 9 

of pasties and cream — the land of a lost language, 
of l^end and romance, where the old seems 
new and the new seems old, and the breath of 
life everywhere. 
Penzance. 



^ 



7^^ S 



Chapter II 



HE proper thing to do when you 
awake at Penzance is to run 
down to the sea and bathe. We 
were told all about it in the 
smoking-room. It is a sort of 
ceremony with something be- 
longing to it. When once you've bathed in the 
sea you're free of the country, like the Israelites, 
after swimming the Jordan. Everybody asks 
his neighbour, " Have you bathed } " If you 
have, it's all right. 

We missed the Bookworm soon after break- 
fast, but Guy said we would soon find him if we 
drew the libraries. Guy supposed that reading 
was like dram-drinking to a fellow who had got 



Cornish Saints and Sinners ii 

himself into the Bookworm's condition, and it 
would be just as well to let him have a dose 
occasionally. We decided to " do " Penzance on 
our own account. 

There's nothing much to *'do." All the 
streets run down to the sea, and then run up 
again. It is a capital arrangement and saves 
one asking questions. It is humiliating for a 
Londoner to be seen asking his way about, and 
takes the fine bloom off his swagger not to be 
able to find his way to the next street, in a town 
all the inhabitants of which could be put into 
one corner of the Crystal Palace. Guy said he'd 
rather walk miles than ask such a silly question. 

Penzance had a reputation long before any 
modern rivals were heard of, and was the Madeira 
of England before the Riviera made its cUhii as 
a professional beauty in the sunny south. Pro- 
fessional beauties want '^ touching up " sometimes, 
and Penzance has been doing a little in that way 
lately, though without destroying the charm 
which draws admirers, and keeps them. It is 
one of those towns in which you seem to be 
always walking in the shadow of a long yesterday. 
Go into the market, and buy a rib of beef, and 
you are brought face to face with an ancient 
cross whose age no man can surely tell. You 
buy a fish, still panting, from the creel of a 
wrinkled specimen of human antiquity which 
takes snuff, and bargains in unfamiliar words. 



12 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

Shops with modern frontages are filled with dark 
serpentine, which carries you back to geologic 
time ; and at the photographer's, the last pro- 
fessional beauty on the stage is surrounded by 
monuments in stone, weathered and hoary before 
the Druids used them for mystic rites. And the 
names are strange. A sound of bitter wailing is 
in Marazion, and Market Jew brings to mind the 
lost ten tribes. You learn in time that Market 
Jew has nothing to do with Jewry, nor Marazion 
with lamentation ; but all this comes gradually, 
and there is ever the sensation of having an old 
and vanished past always with you. You may 
step from Alverton Street, Pall Mall and Pic- 
cadilly rolled into one, with its motor-cars and 
bikes, knickers and chiffons, into Market Jew, 
reminding you of antiquity and gabardines, or 
vice versd, just as you happen to be taking your 
walks abroad. 

Penzance has one "lion" — Sir Humphry 
Davy. Sir Humphry and his little lamp is a 
story with immortal youth, like that of Washing- 
ton and his little hatchet. Sir Humphry meets 
you at unexpected places and times — there was 
something d la Sir Humphry on the breakfast 
menu. We heard about him soon after our 
arrival, from an American tourist of independent 
views. He said that Sir Humphry would not 
be a boss man now because he didn't know a 
good thing when he had it, and gave away his 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 13 

invention in a spirit of benevolence, which was 
destructive of all sound commercial principles. 
Then he figured out how many millions, in 
dollars, Sir Humphry might have .made, if only 
he had patented his litde lamp and run the show 
himself. 

Sir Humphry is a sort of patron saint, and 
some people feel all the better for looking at his 
statue in marble outside the Market House. He 
was born here, but his bones rest in peace at 
Geneva. They may be brought over at the 
centenary of his death, and canonized by the 
miners, whose saint he is, and God reward him 
for placing science at the service of humanity. 

We found ourselves in the Morrab Gardens ; 
the Public Library is there, and Guy said we 
might surprise the Bookworm if he came out to 
breathe. We didn't see him, but we saw the 
gardens — z, little paradise with exotic blooms, 
and fountains playing, and the air laden with 
perfume. We sat down, but didn't feel like 
talking — a delicious, do-nothing sort of feeling 
was over us. We didn't know then what it was, 
but found that it was the climate — the restful, 
seductive climate. 

A couple of fishwomen with empty baskets 
passed us, and they talked loud enough, but it 
might have been Arabic for all we knew. The 
letters of the alphabet seemed to be waltzing with 
the s's and z'z to the old women's accompaniment, 



L -. 



14 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

and words reached us from a distance like the 
hum of bees. We were inclined to sleep, so 
moved on; but the feeling while it lasted was 
delicious. It may be only coincidence, but the 
Bookworm discovered that Morrab is a Semitic 
word, and means " the place of the setting sun." 
The Morrab Gardens face the west ; and to sit in 
a library in a miniature garden of Eden with an 
Arabic name is, in his opinion, the height of 
human enjoyment. The natives think a lot of 
the garden. 

Serpentine and saints are common — ^the 
former is profitable ; but there was an over- 
production of the latter a long time ago, and the 
market is still inactive. Some parishes had more 
than one saint, and some saints had more than 
one altas^ to the great confusion of all saint 
lovers. The memory of saints, however, will last 
as long as the Mount stands. The Mount, dedi- 
cated to St. Michael, makes one curious about 
the early history of the good people who came 
here long ago, when the sea was salt enough to 
float millstones. The cheapest way of coming 
across in those days from the ''distressful coun- 
try," was to sit on a millstone and wait for a fair 
breeze. The saints were quite ready to grind 
any other man's corn as soon as they landed, and 
the millstones were convenient for that purpose. 
The rights of aliens to eat up natives were articles 
of belief and practice. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 15 

Penzance appeared on the saints' charts as the 
"Holy Headland," which was a mark to steer 
by ; but St Michael, it appears, drifted out of his 
course, and landed at the Mount, where the giant 
lived, and thereby hangs a tale. 

Saint Michael and the Conger. 

There are more St. Michaels than one, but the 
hero of this story landed at the Mount in a fog. 
The Mount was then the marine residence of an 
ancient giant, well known as keeping a sharp 
look-out for saints through a telescope, which he 
stole from an unfortunate Phoenician ship laden 
with tin and oysters. The giant had an evil reputa- 
tion, but did nothing by halves. He was asleep 
when St. Michael landed ; and when he slept, he 
snored, and when he snored, the Mount shook. 

The poor saint was in a terrible funk, wander- 
ing about for days, reading the notices which the 
giant posted up warning saints not to land, unless 
they wished to be cooked in oil, after the manner 
of sardines. There was nothing to be picked up 
just then but seaweed, and the dry bones which 
the giant threw away — and there wasn't enough 
on the bones to support a saint after he had done 
with them. St. Michael had got rid of the very 
last drop of the best LL. whisky, and sat on 
the empty keg, and dreamed of his own peat fire 
at Ballyknock, and the little shebeen where a 



i6 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

drop was to be had for the asking. It was fear 
of the fierce giant above which alone kept him 
from singing the poem which he had composed 
about " Home, sweet home." 

The saint was very sad, and had almost given 
up hope, when something in the sea attracted his 
attention, and he saw a great conger rise, tail 
first, and stretch itself, until the tail topped the 
rock. Its head remained in the sea. The giant 
was snoring, and the Mount shook. St. Michael 
was the gold medallist of his college, and could 
put two and two together with the help of his 
fingers. ** A sign," said he, girding on his sword, 
and putting on his best pair of spurs. The 
conger was to be for him a Jacob's ladder. 

So he dug his spurs well into the fish's side, 
and climbed and climbed until he reached the 
top, and, with one mighty stroke, cut off the 
giant's head. There wasn't much personal 
estate — only the telescope — and the saint took 
that, but forgot to send a *' return " to Somersrt 
House, and pay death duties. The conger 
wagged his tail, by way of saying he was tired 
and wanted to be off, so the saint slipp'^d down 
quite easily — ^so easily that he found the earth 
hard when he touched bottom. Those who have 
eyes to see may see the mark to this day. 

Then the conger disappeared in the sea, but 
returned again, this time head first, and licked 
the saint's hand, who blessed it. Now the 



. UICHAEL AND THE CONGER. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 17 

conger is very fine and large, and abundant in its 
season, and the white scars down its sides are the 
marks of the saint's spurs, which tell the story of 
the climb. There are some who say it was a 
bean-stalk which grew in the night for the saint 
to climb, and those who believe it, may. 

The giant's blood flowed Over the cliff, and a 
church sprung up, which St. Michael dedicated 
to himself, and then went away, for the Mount 
was not inhabited in those days.* 

This was the beginning of the war between 
the saints and giants, which continued for 
centuries, and might have lasted until now, only 
the saints came out on top. 

Saint Michael crops up in various places, and, 
for convenience, I may add here what is known 
of him. He became the patron saint of the 
county after meeting with the arch-enemy at 
Helston. There was no time to advise the 
newspapers, and get special correspondents on 
the spot, but it was reported that the battle was 
tough and long. The enemy carried a red-hot 
boulder under his arm, and hurled it at the saint ; 
but he was out of practice, and the ball went wide. 
Then the saint got in with his trusty blackthorn, 
and basted the enemy so well that he couldn't fly 
away fast enough for comfort. 

N.B. — The boulder was picked up when cool, 
and is still on view at the Angel Hotel. 

* Story-books, please copy. No rights reserved. 

C 



1 8 Cornish Saints and Sinners 



Saint Michael, having now done enough for 
mere reputation, grew ambitious, and turned 
author, and that finished him. He wrote "The 
Story of my Life," but the publishers returned 
the manuscript with compliments ; and when he 
found he had to pay double postage on the 
unstamped parcels, his great heart broke. 

The Bookworm got back in time for dinner. 
He had been to all the libraries, and made friends 
of all the curators, and was going to have a good 
time. 

We met the American gentleman in the 
smoking-room, and he gave us more opinions. 
He said this part of the world was a durned sight 
too slow for the twentieth century. It was, say, 
two hundred years behind the age. He expected 
that an American citizen would come across one 
day, and just show the people what to do, and 
how to do it This Cornwall was a big show for 
the man who knew how to handle it. He took a 
special interest in the matter, because of the Gulf 
Stream, and he wasn't sure whether or no this 
part of the old country came within the Monroe 
doctrine. If it's England where the British flag 
waves, then isn't it America where American water 
runs ? And if the Gulf Stream wasn't America, 
what was ? He told us frankly that he, John B. 
Bellamy, Kansas City, Mo., U.S.A., had ideas. 



L(i^ 



Chapter III 



lOLLY PENTREATH, the fish- 
wife of Mousehole, had a repu- 
tation as wide, but different, as 
Sir Humphry's. Her portrait 
is sold in Penzance, wherein 
Dolly is only a name now. She 
belonged to the adjoining parish of Paul, and so 
there is no statue to her in the Market-place, 
where she sold fish, and talked the old Cornish 
with the real twenty-two carat stamp upon it. 
The Bookworm said Dolly's fame had done a 
good deal towards advertising the land of a lost 



20 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

language. He showed us the portrait of a 
determined-looking, passionate old party in short 
skirts, and a creel on her back. We had seen 
already several ancient dames carrying fish quite 
as capable of taking care of themselves, which 
indicated that if the language is lost, the race 
survives. It's a nice walk along the shore to 
Mousehole. We might have lingered at Newlyn, 
only the Bookworm wanted to get upon classic 
ground, where old Dolly used to smoke her pipe, 
and drink her flagon of beer with the best, and 
talk Cornish — the real old lingo, hot, sweet, and 
strong, so that those who heard her once never for- 
got it Dolly lived to one hundred and two, and 
then departed, carrying with her, in her queer old 
brain, the completest vocabulary of the Cornish 
language upon earth. This is the legend, to 
which is to be added that she had the reputation 
of being a "witch." There exists an ancient 
corner in the village where Dolly would be at 
home again if she could come back ; and the 
Bookworm walked up and down, and in and out, 
touching the stones and rubbing shoulders against 
the pillars, as though he expected to feel an 
electric shock, or receive the straight tip from 
the old lady that he'd touched the spot, like 
Homocea. He may have passed over it, but 
he was happy. If he could only have found an 
old clay pipe that Dolly had smoked I 

An old man sitting on a post watched us out 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 21 

of a corner of his eye. He knew what we were 
up to» and that there was a trifle at the end of it. 
Guy tackled him. 

" Dolly Pentreath ? Oh yes ; she died poor, 
and was buried in the parish churchyard of Paul. 
People came in shoals to see her monument and 
read the inscription.'' 

" Had anybody got anything belonging to her?" 

Not that he knew by. " She might have had 
a Bible or a hymn-book, but she wasn't given 
that way much. So many people wanted * relics/ 
and if there ever were any, they would have been 
sold long ago." 

All this was straight enough, and his blue eye 
looked as clear as the well of truth. We stood 
around him as an oracle, and he began his story. 

" Dolly Pentreath was a fine woman, with a 
voice that you could hear to Newlyn. She had 
the heart of a lion, and it was told of her that 
when a press-gang landed in search of men for 
the navy, Dolly took up a hatchet and fought 
them back to their boats, and so cursed them in 
old Cornish that that crew never ventured to 
come again.* And she was artful as well as 
brave, and saved a man, 'wanted' by the law 

* The old lady's eloquence in her native tongue did not run 
greatly to swear-words, of which, according to Carew, there were 
only " two or three natural." " But then," saith Carew, " this want 
is relieved with a flood of most bitter curses and spitefiil nick- 
names." The mouth hath its pearls ; and our Dolly's was well 
filled, when her blood was stirred. 



22 Cornish Saints and Sinners 



for the purpose of hanging, by hiding him in 
her chimney. Dolly lived in an old house over- 
looking the quay, the walls of which were thick, 
and in the chimney was a cavity in which a man 
could stand upright, and it was a convenient 
hiding-place for many things. ' Back along ' 
Mousehole was one family, and the ties of blood 
spoke eloquently ; so, when a man rushed into 
Dolly's cottage, saying the officers were after 
him, and would hang him to the yardarm of the 
ship out in the bay, from which he had taken 
French leave the week before, he did not appeal 
in vain. 

"There was no time to lose, and Dolly rose 
to the occasion. Up the chimney she popped the 
man ; then, taking an armful of dried furze, she 
made a fire in the wide open grate, and filled 
the crock with water. Into the middle of the 
kitchen she pulled a * keeve,* which she used for 
washing, and when the naval officer and his men 
burst into the kitchen, Dolly was sitting on a 
stool, with her legs bare, and her feet dangling 
over the * keeve/ This was the situation. 

" ' A man, indeed ! ' quoth Dolly ; * and me 
washing my feet ! ' She was only waiting for the 
water to * het,' and they might all wash their own, 
if they liked. Search ? Of ^ coose * they might, 
and be sugared. (This was old Cornish, of 
course.) Would they like to look into the crock, 
and see if a man was boiling there ? 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 23 

'' Search they did, and found no man ; but 
Dolly found her tongue, and let them have it; 
and then she found her thick shoes and let them 
fly ; and then she made for the chopper, and that 
cleared the house. Dolly made the most noise 
when she heard the poor man cough in his 
hiding-place. The aromatic smoke from the 
burning furze tickled his throat, and though life 
depended on silence, he could not keep it. Then 
Dolly gave tongue, and old Cornish — the genuine 
article — rattled amongst the rafters, like notes 
from brazen trumpets blown by tempests. She 
threw wide her door, and, with bare legs and 
feet, proclaimed to all the world the mission of 
the young lieutenant and his men, who now 
saw anger in all eyes, and made good their 
retreat whilst in whole skins. Then Dolly 
liberated the man in the chimney. In the dark 
night a fishing lugger stole out of Mousehole 
with the deserter on board, and made for 
Guernsey, which, in those days, was a sort of 
dumping-ground for all who were unable to pay 
their debts at home, or were 'wanted' for the 
hangman." 

The old man, with true blue eyes, turned a 
quid in his mouth, and said, with the simplicity 
of a child, "And that man was my mother's 
father." 

Guy was preparing to cross-examine the man 
of truth, but we would not have it. It was his 



24 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

own witness. He had found him sitting on an 
iron stump, and was bound to treat him as a 
witness of truth. Why shouldn't his own 
mother's father have been a deserter from the 
king's ship, and been saved by Dolly Pentreath ? 
Guy agreed ; but, said he, it was suspicious that 
that man should have been sitting on that very 
stump, at the very right moment, and have the 
right story on the tip of his tongue for the 
right people to listen to. There was too much 
** coincidence." We let it go at that. 

The Bookworm had the old man with the 
truthful blue eyes all to himself for a time, 
and discovered the very room in the Keigwin 
Arms in which Dolly was wont to take her pint 
and her pipe at her ease, and the window out of 
which she would thrust her hard old face and 
shout to the fishers when they came to the 
landing-place. The old lady was keen on her 
bargains, and when she had bought her "cate," 
she trudged into Penzance with ** creel " on back, 
and spoiled the Egyptians, according to the rules 
of art. The costume of the fishwife is the same 
now as then — the short skirt, the turned-up 
sleeves, the pad for resting the creel. Newhaven 
fishwives, but with less colour. 

The Bookworm tried some old Cornish, which 
he had picked up the previous day, upon the old 
man with the truthful blue eyes, but he shook 
his head mournfully. " Karenza whelas karenza^' 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 25 

repeated the Bookworm ; but the old man looked 
blank, and did not blush at not knowing the 
family language. The finest chords of his heart 
were untouched ; but he brightened up when the 
Bookworm sought his hand furtively, and left 
something there. Guy said he was perpetuating 
testimony. 

The old fellow offered to go with us to Paul, 
and show us Dolly's monument, but Guy said 
the place was consecrated ground, and something 
tragic might happen if he refreshed his memory 
too largely on the spot. The truthful-looking 
eyes were unabashed. 

" I don't care," said the Bookworm, as we 
walked along the road — " I don't care ; we have 
received from the old fellow the impressions 
which he received from those who saw Dolly 
Pentreath in life — her passionate self-will and 
pluck, her artfulness, her readiness of tongue, 
and quickness in making a situation. What 
could be more dramatic in a cottage with only 
a fireplace, a wash-tray, and a stool in it for 
accessories ? I don't care how much is invention 
— ^the living impression is that Dolly would have 
done this under the circumstances, and so the 
true woman has been presented to us." 

" I wish you joy of her, only Tm glad she 
doesn't cook my dinner," said Guy. "Let us 
reckon up her virtues — she snuffed, she smoked, 
she took her pint, and she cussed upon small 



26 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

provocation ; these are the four cardinal virtues 
in your heroine. I wonder how often she was 
before her betters for assault and battery, and 
using profane language in an unknown tongue ? " 

We saluted the monolith in the churchyard 
in memory of Dolly Pentreath, but no one can 
say for certain that it covers the ashes of that 
ancient volcano in petticoats. Guy said he could 
not thrill unless he was sure the old lady was 
there, and the Bookworm ought to do all the 
thrilling for the party. 

We were glad to have seen the monument, 
and the Bookworm said it was a sign of the 
bonne entente which is to be. " The Republic of 
Letters is superior to public prejudices and racial 
antipathies," he added, with a magnificant wave of 
the hand. 

We saluted the monument, including the 
shades of Dolly and Prince Lucian, if they 
happened to be around, and departed with the 
conviction that we had behaved very nicely 
towards the lost language and the ** Republic 
of Letters." 



-^ t"^ 



Chapter IV 



' HE American citizen was not very 
interested in our doings. He 
thought that one language was 
good enough for the whole earth, 
and that was English, improved 
by the United States. Therewere 
languages still spoken in America which, he guessed, 
wouldn't be missed if they died out, as well as 
the [>eople who spoke them. He wasn't gone on 
lost languages, or lost trades, or lost anything, 
but was a living man, and wanted people about 




28 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

him to show life. He had been told to take 
back some "relics" of the late King Arthur, 
because there was money in them, and he was 
going to Tintagel ta look round — a button, or 
shoe-lace, or lock of hair picked up on the spot 
would fetch something considerable. There was 
a market for " relics " on the other side. We 
told him we weren't keen on "relics" for com- 
mercial purposes, and were going the other way 
first, so he would have it all his own way as far 
as we were concerned. 

We reached the Land's End at the lowest of 
low water, and touched the very last bit of 
rock visible, so as to be able to say we'd touched 
the very last stone of dry England. We left it 
there for future generations to touch. 

Cornwall is a tract of land with one-third in 
pickle, and what can't be walked over can be 
sailed over. When you sail far enough you reach 
the Scilly Isles, which is a sort of knuckle-end to 
the peninsula which once was land. There isn't 
very much to be found out in books about the 
land under the sea. Of course it is there, or 
water wouldn't be on top. 

The Cornwall under the sea is the land of 
romance, where, some say. King Arthur was 
born. There is no getting away from this land 
under the sea, for the old fairies rise from it still, 
and spread enchantment. We were told that 
every little boy and girl born in the peninsula is 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 29 

breathed over by the fairies, and in after-life, 
wherever they may be, they turn their faces in 
sleep towards the west, and dream. From under 
the sea there rises, morn and eve, the sound of 
bells, telling their own tale with infinite charm. 
The stranger who comes into the county must 
hear these sounds and thrill, and see in sunshine 
and shadow, on hill and in coombe, on moor and' 
fen, the fluttering of impalpable wings ; for if he 
hears and sees them not, he will depart the 
stranger he came, though he live a lifetime in 
the land. In Cornwall everything is alive — ^the 
mine, the moor, the sea, the deep pools, the 
brooks, the groves, the sands, the caves ; every- 
thing has its moan and harmony and inspiration. 
And the land under the sea, which is called 
Lyonesse by the poets, was a fairy zone, and some 
say it sank in the night, and some say other 
things harder to believe. 

Cornwall under the sea has been there a long 
time. Some people, who like to be accurate 
above all things, say it disappeared in the year 
1089, and contained 140 parish churches, and 
God wot how many chapels, and baptistries, and 
holy wells, and places. The only survivor was 
a Trevelyan, of Basil, near Launceston, who was 
on the back of a swimming horse. As it is not 
improbable that the inhabitants of Lyonesse 
traded with somebody elsewhere and owed them 
money, it is wonderful that the bad debts should 



30 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

have been wiped out without a murmur, and that 
no entry has been found in any court, or in the 
accounts and deeds of abbeys and priories of any 
interest in the 140 parish churches, and chapels, 
and holy wells, and baptistries. The Trevelyans 
seem to have been a larkish family, for when one 
of them was arrested for debt, he fetched a bee- 
hive and presented it to the bailiffs, who ran 
away from honey and honeycomb as fast as they 
could. The chimes which rise from the 140 parish 
churches under the sea are very beautiful to those 
who hear them. The square-set man who tacked 
himself on to us smiled when we asked him to 
say honestly if he had heard them. He had 
heard people say that they had. Some people 
are wonderfully quick at hearing. 

The fact remains that from Land's End to 
Scilly is blue water, and from Scilly to Sandy 
Hook is blue water also. There are some other 
facts of almost equal interest, if one cares about 
them; but the first and foremost fact is, that 
every one standing for the first time upon the 
bluff, perpendicular cliffs at the Land's End, turns 
his face seawards, and says, "There's nothing 
between me and America." Many people also 
think that the waves breaking on the dark rocks 
travel all the way from Sandy Hook without 
stopping for the privilege of dying on English 
soil. Wherever they come from they're welcome, 
and so also are the winds laden with Atlantic 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 31 

brine, which certainly have touched no land since 
they left the other side. No American tourist 
ever comes as far west as Penzance without 
rushing to the Land's End to get a lung-full of 
home air, as pure and unadulterated as it can be 
got in this old country. 

Guy was particularly interested in the Gulf 
Stream, which we found was another matter of 
unfailing interest to everybody, and at all times 
and seasons. Some things may be explained 
every hour of the day without being explained 
away, like the sun's light, or a rainbow, or a new 
baby's eyes. Guy wanted to have the Gulf 
Stream pointed out to him, just as though it were 
painted red on the chart, or sent up clouds of 
steam. There wasn't much fun in looking for the 
Gulf Stream, only, being on the spot, one was 
obliged to do it. We had heard such a lot about 
it at the hotel, and the square-set man told us 
that people always made a dash for the Gulf 
Stream when they came here. His story of the 
old lady bringing eggs with her to cook in the 
Stream kept us in good temper when we found 
for ourselves that the water was just the same as 
any other sea-water, as far as we could tell, and 
that we should not have suspected the Gulf 
Stream of being near if we hadn't been told. 
Guy said it was a fine thing to know it was 
somewhere about, even if we couldn't see it, be- 
cause it was a sort of link between the old world 



32 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

and the new, and made it easy to understand why 
Mr. Choate was made a Bencher. Guy promised 
to think the matter out, and put it in another 
way if we couldn't quite understand the reference. 
The square-set man said he was sure there 
was a Gulf Stream, because foreign seaweed was 
picked up sometimes; and if it wasn't for the 
Stream, early potatoes and broccoli wouldn't be 
early, and the flowers at Scilly would be just the 
same as at other places. It's a long way for a 
stream to come, and the square-set man told us 
that at one time it must have been stronger than 
now, for it carried away the mainland between us 
and Scilly ; but when Guy cross-examined him 
on what he called a question of fact, he broke 
down, and finished off by saying that that was 
what " people said." Guy was willing that there 
should be a Gulf Stream, but he bristled when 
told that the peninsula was snapped off like a 
carrot, and carried away by a stream from the 
Gulf of Mexico. His English pride was hurt, 
and he declared that he'd rather do without early 
potatoes and broccoli and flowers from Scilly for 
the rest of his life than that foreign water should 
ever be said to have carried away English acres, 
and so many of them. The invasion of England 
by the Gulf Stream indeed ! Then where were 
the Navy League, and the Coast Defence Com- 
mittee, and Mr. Balfour's great speech in the 
House of Commons ? 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 33 

There was one spot that we must see and 
stand upon, and the square-set man was sure of 
himself this time. We must go and stand upon 
the rock where Wesley stood before composing 
the hymn, "Lo, on a narrow neck of land." 
People come from all quarters of the universe for 
this privilege, and some people actually go away 
and compose hymns and send copies to the 
square-set man. He did not say what he did 
with them, but he did not talk respectfully of an 
absent lady who mailed him a poem from New 
York and forgot the postage stamps. 

It was Guy's idea to stay where we were. 
He put it very nicely to the Bookworm about 
"communing with Nature, the great unwritten 
book, and all that sort of thing, you know." Guy 
was afraid that he would make a bee-line for the 
library if we returned to Penzance, and that we 
should have to dig him out again. " We'll keep 
him in the open, and let the square-set man stuff 
him with prehistoric monuments — ^something 
solid, you know, after the Gulf Stream." Guy's 
mind was constantly running on the Gulf Stream. 
He didn't care a fig for the stream, he said, in 
the course of the evening, and it was welcome to 
travel where it would; but when it came to 
taking away English soil, he wouldn't hear it; 
no, not if all the scientists in the universe were 
against him. 

Most people carry away something — pebbles, 



34 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

or blooms, or bits of sea-weed, or something of 
that sort — and there's plenty left ; and all seem 
to carry away " impressions." The guide-books 
don't help the impressionists much, for everything 
appears different to every other person, as though 
the local fairies had a hand in it. 

The square-set man called upon us in the 
evening, and told us stories of people whom he 
had conducted around the cliffs, and from monu- 
ment to monument. The cliffs, we found, were 
" grand," " sublime," or " terrible ; " and the rest 
was summed up in "charming," "queer," "fan- 
tastic," "unaccountable," *'odd," "sweet," and 
the like. Specialists, of course, had their own pet 
phrases; but our friend was particularly struck 
with the fancy of the gentleman who saw in the 
cliffs only admirable situations for solving the 
great mystery. The higher the point, the more 
he seemed delighted. " Now, this is what I call 
a grand place for committing suicide," he finished 
off by saying, and " tipped * so liberally that Mr. 
Square-set is on the look-out for his return. An 
emotion once so deeply stirred will surely need 
be stirred again, he hinted. 

When we asked Square-set to sit down and 
chat a bit, he said he'd be very pleased to 
" tich-pipe ; " and when I passed him my pouch, 
he said he hadn't smoked since he was a young 
man. 

"What you want to touch-a-pipe for if you 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 35 

don't smoke, I can't imagine," said Guy ; and 
then we found that "tich-pipe" had noting to 
do with the weed, but simply meant an interval 
of rest 

The Bookworm made a note. 




Chapter V 



' O one ever comes here without in- 
quiring for " wreckers" — Cornish 
wreckers are in demand. Guy 
put artful questions artfully, but 
could get no admissions beyond 
that— that he had " heard tell " 
that in ancient days things were done which no 
honest, God-fearing man should do. He was 
always being asked about wreckers and their 
doings, and a real, live sample on show would be 
a fortune to any man. What was called " wreck- 
ing " now was simply picking up and carrying 
away little odds and ends which the sea threw up 
high and dry upon the beaches. And why not ? 
Who had a better title to them f 

Guy said he supposed it was all right ; and he 

remembered there was authority for saying that 

the king is rex because all wrecks belong to him. 

If so, then wreckers are rexers in their own right, 

36 



THE VILLAGE SHOP, MOUSEHOLE. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 37 

and can do no wrong. Mr. Square-set was not 
impressed, but he assured us that the double- 
dyed villain of Cornish romances innumerable 
was extinct now^ and Mr. Carnegie's millions 
could not purchase a specimen for the British 
Museum. It was a disappointment not to find a 
"wrecker " — the bold, bad man who tied lanterns 
to cows' tails, and sent up false lights to lure 
passing ships to destruction. We wanted to 
shake hands with one and stand him drinks, and 
make notes of his bushy eyebrows and the colour 
of his eyes, and then turn him inside out to dis- 
cover what his secret thoughts were when hatch- 
ing diabolical plans. Our faith in Cornish ro- 
mances received a great shock just then, and 
Guy's cherished ambition to write " The Chron- 
icles of Joseph Penruddock, Wrecker," suffered 
frost-bite. The world will never know more. 

Of deeds of derring-do for the saving of life 
our square-set friend was full. This was another 
picture — a picture of black night and tempest, 
and noble souls wrestling with death and destruc- 
tion, with scarce one faint chance in their favour. 
He told us of a man who hung over the precipi- 
tous cliff which we had stood on that morning, 
shuddering as we looked down in the full light of 
day, and the sea calm as the surface of a mirror ; 
he told us of a man who descended that cliff by a 
rope when a storm was raging, and the sea '* boil- 
ing" beneath him, and how he brought back in 



38 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

his arms a burden, battered, but still living, and 
how, in mid-air, the strands of the rope were 
chafed, so that those above trembled as they 
hauled. And as he spoke an inward glow spread 
over the man's face and revealed him. Guy 
seized the man's hands in both his own and wrung 
them, saying, '' Great Scott ! and you are the man 
who did this thing ! " He told us afterwards that 
he couldn't help himself, and wasn't the least 
ashamed of being a bit '^ soft '' just then. To 
think that this hero was the man we picked up 
scratching himself against a cromlech and looking 
for a job ! 

We couldn't get away from the sea now, and 
Mr. Square-set told us how differently sailors in 
misfortune were treated now than formerly — how 
they were fed and clothed and sent from one end 
of the country to the other, wherever they wished 
to go— in fact, by rail. In his young days it was 
not so, and a shipwrecked mariner was compelled 
to tramp wherever he chose to go, either to his 
own home or to the next port, in the hope of get- 
ting a berth. But a tramp in fine weather, sleep- 
ing in the fields and outhouses at night, and beg- 
ging at decent houses by day, was very much 
enjoyed by the men, who became heroes when 
they returned home. He told us the story of 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 39 

Two Ancient Mariners 

who hailed from Cornwall, and once found them- 
selves stranded in the port of London, with little 
but what they stood upright in. They were 
young men and merry-hearted, and stood by each 
other in fair weather or foul, as shipmates should. 
They hailed from the same fishing village, and 
wished to be home during the "feast" week, which 
was near at hand. Failing to find a coasting 
vessel bound west, they started to walk, and part 
of their arrangement was to take it in turns to call 
at gentlemen's houses and ask for assistance. 
They preferred not to go to the same house to- 
gether, but to leave one on the look-out, in case 
of " squalls." They got on well enough for some 
days, sleeping where they could, and telling yams 
of peril and disaster, most likely, in their opinion, 
to melt the hearts of hearers. And the story 
went like this — 

" They came to a great gentleman's house, and 
it was Tommy Hingston's turn to go in, and Bill 
Baron's to watch outside. Tommy went up, as 
bold as brass, and asked for the gentleman, who 
was at home, and received him very kindly ; and 
when he found he had come from London, he 
asked him for the latest news. 

" * There's fine news, sure 'nuff,* says Tom. 

" * Then let me have it, my man.' 

•• * Haven't 'ee heard it, yer honour ? Haven't 



40 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

'ee heard that London was as black as night at 
noon-day ? ' 

'' ' Most remarkable/ said the gentleman ; ' and 
can you tell me what caused the darkness ? ' 

" ' Sartin sure I can. A monstrous great bird 
flew over the town, and shut out the sun with his 
wings.' 

**'That is astonishing. And did you hear 
anything else ? ' 

*"'Ess; they've a-turned Smithfield Market 
into a kitchen, and all the people are to be fed 
upon whitepot.' 

" ' You really mean it ? ' 

" ' I tasted it, yer honour,' replied Tom. 

"*And was there anything else worthy of 
notice ? ' 

"Tom scratched his head. * There was 
something else,' he added, in a sort of hardly- 
worth-talking-about style. * The River Thames 
catched on fire.' 

" * Ah,' said the gentleman, rising and ringing 
the bell; 'and I have '' catched" a rank im- 
poster, and, being a magistrate, will commit you 
forthwith to prison as a rogue and a vaga- 
bond.' 

'' Billy Baron was keeping watch outside, and 
as his mate did not return, he grew uneasy. By- 
and-by he marched up and 'faced the brass 
knocker,' and was brought before the gentleman, 
who was now writing out a committal order, and 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 41 

Tom he saw standing, bolt upright, by the side 
of a man who had charge of him. 

** Billy was a soft-hearted man, and burst into 
tears. Then the gentleman told Billy, in very 
straight terms, what he thought of his mate — 
a lying imposter, whom he was sending to 
prison. 

" ' Never ! ' said Billy, firmly. ' Y\\ lay my 
life on him.' 

"'Very well; then, tell me, did you see a 
great bird fly over London, so large as to hide 
the light of the sun with its wings } ' 

" ' No, sir,' replied Billy. ' I didn't see the 
bird, but I seed four horses dragging an egg, 
which people said a great bird had laid/ 

" ' You are a truthful man,' said the gentleman. 

"'I hope so,' said Billy, with one eye on 
his mate. 

" ' I hope so, too. Then, tell me, did you eat 
some whitepot at Smithfield Market ? ' 

" * No, I didn't, yer honour, but I seed a store 
full of gurt horn spoons.' 

"•He told me something else, and I'm sure 
you'll answer truthfully. He told me he saw the 
River Thames on fire.' 

•• * However cud 'ee have said that, Tom } ' 
blurted out Billy, reproachfully. ' He never seed 
the river on fire, but what we did see was waggon 
and waggon-loads of fish carted away with burnt 
fins and tails.' 



42 Cornish Saints and Sinners 



" * And they would have been taken from the 
burning river ? ' 

" ' I do not doubt it ; but, mind, I dedn't zee 
it/ said Billy, with the air of a martyr to the 
truth. 

"The gentleman, no longer able to contain 
himself, sent Tom and Billy down to the kitchen, 
and gave them the best ' blaw out ' they had on 
the journey. And, when they left, he told them, 
by way of compliment, that they were 'real 
Cornish diamonds, and the best pair of liars ' he 
had ever known. 

"And they were hard to beat," said Mr. 
Square-set 



Chapter VI 



UR square-set friend owned up to 
smuggling as one of the virtues 

I of his countrymen. The real 
thing is getting scarce now. 
One evening he brought an old 
acquaintance with him, intro- 
ducing him crisply as " Unde Bill." We saw a 
good deal of Uncle Bill afterwards, who was 
ninety next birthday, and ready and willing to 
"fight, wrassel, or run" with any man of his age 
in this country or the next. We did not doubt 
him, for his blue eye was clear, he moved easily, 
and his pink finger-tips and fllbert-shaped nails 



44 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

showed breed. Uncle Bill looked as though he 
intended to carry out his bat for a century or 
more. He was, he said, as sound as a bell, 
except that he was a bit " tiched on the wind " 
when walking against a hill Never took 
"doctor's traade," as he contemptuously called 
physici and his cure for all ills was a pipe of 
'bacca to smoke and a pen'ard of gin mixed with 
a pen'ard of porter. He said he had done a 
little smuggling, in the old-fashioned way, in a 
small lugger, running for dear life across the 
Channel in a gale of wind when the King's 
cutters were all snug in harbour, and then land- 
ing the tubs of spirits and parcels of lace and 
other things under the very noses of the pre- 
ventive men. "They dedn't prevent we," said 
Uncle Bill, his face all a-glow with the pleasures 
of memory. He told us that he settled down to 
fishing when his " calling," and that of his father 
before him^ was interfered with; but the dash 
and peril and the fame of successful smuggling 
suited him, and warmed up the cockles of his 
heart now only to think about He spoke of 
himself as an injured man because he received 
no compensation for disturbance. 

Guy worked at the subject, and came to the 
conclusion that Cornwall was as intended by 
Nature for smuggling as the inhabitants were 
for carrying it on. Every little bay and creek 
and cavern, villages and farmhouses, even the 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 45 

tombs in the parish churches, could tell tales. 
And the women, they were hand in glove with 
their husbands and sweethearts, fathers and 
brothers; and all that made life worth living 
then was made dependent on a successful '^ run " 
from a little French port with goods honestly 
bought and paid for, but — the sorrow and shame 
of it! — made contraband the moment they 
touched English soil. 

^* Bad laws made smugglers," said the Book- 
worm, provokingly, to Guy, who always fires up 
with professional wrath when he hears of anything 
bad in connection with the law. 

** Bad fiddlesticks ! People smuggled because 
they liked it — just as you liked it when you 
smuggled those nice little Tauchnitz editions last 
year, and without thinking of the poor devil of 
an author in England that you were robbing,'' 
replied Guy. 

" That never occurred to* me," said the Book- 
worm, meekly. 

" Of course not You are only a petty 
smuggler, but a smuggler all the same. And do 
you mean to tell me that 'bad laws,' forsooth, 
made you smuggle the books ? Not a bit of it. 
You liked the game, and you know it." 

There is a grandeur about the old smuggler 
which increases with age. He put his little all 
upon a venture— nothing of the limited liability 
principle about him. The lugger which left a 



46 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

Cornish fishing cove was, as a rule, family pro- 
perty, owned by father and sons, or by two or 
three brothers. The family capital was put into 
one purse, carried away, and converted into 
honest brandy, wines, and other articles of com- 
merce. Then the struggle commenced between 
the individual who pitted his own cunning and 
frail boat against the King's cruisers and all the 
resources of a mighty State. He was surrounded 
by ** spies '' from the moment his cargo was on 
board until he was ready to slip from his moor- 
ings. He could trust no man. And then his 
voyage across the Channel was a race for life — 
in fog, in tempest, when only a madman would 
run the risk, the old smuggler would *^ up sail 
and off ; " and if a King^s officer liked to follow, 
then all he'd see would be the drippings from the 
smuggler's keel. The god of storms was the 
smuggler's divinity, and he loved his little craft, 
which was, for the time, a thing of life fleeing 
from pursuit, from imprisonment, and even death 
when cannon-balls fiew about How the old 
smuggler prayed for storm and night, for any 
peril which would enable him to show courage 
and mastery over the elemental forces which 
should drive his pursuers to destruction ! 

And how he would fight when brought to 
bay ! When becalmed, the King^s cutter would 
send a boat alongside to board the lugger, every 
man armed with pistol and cutlass, and wearing 



/^ 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 47 

the uniform of authority. Then the smuggler 
would fight for property and life, cast off the 
grappling-irons, and cut down the man who 
ventured to set foot upon his little craft And 
all the while the old man at the helm looked 
fixedly at the heavens and across the water to 
see if, perchance, a " breath of wind '' was stirring 
— only a breath might be his salvation when he 
was too far inshore for the King's cutter to 
venture, and his men fighting off the cutter's 
crew like heroes. Then a puff, and the sail 
draws; then more wind, and, inch by inch, the 
lugger sails away from cutter and cutter's crew, 
only, perhaps, to fall in with another enemy 
which has to be out-sailed, or out-manceuvred, or 
fought off, as best serves the purpose. No sur- 
render when boat and cargo is the bread of the 
family. 

Then the old smuggler reaches home, and 
every shadow may spell ruin ; and all that is 
done is done in fear, and he has to be cunning 
always, and ready to fight to the death. The 
old smuggler belonged to the heroic age, and in 
all genuine stories he bulks colossal against a 
midnight sky black with tempest The race has 
not disappeared; the conditions have changed, 
that is all. Uncle Bill told us that he could find 
a crew to-morrow if there was but a fair prospect 
of making five hundred pounds on the venture. 
And " I'd be one," said he. 



48 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

If Nature intended a county for smuggling, 
it is Cornwall, which seems somehow to have 
been caught when cooling between two seas and 
pressed inward and upward, so that it is full of 
little bights and bays and caverns, which might 
have been vents for the gases to escape when the 
sea pressure at the sides became unbearable, and 
the earth groaned like the belle of the season in 
tight corsets. The caverns are given up to bats 
and otters and slimy things now, but in the 
" good old days ! '' The women, by all accounts, 
took kindly to smuggling, and stood shoulder to 
shoulder with their men when there was a fight 
with the preventive men, and ran off with the 
" tubs " of spirit and whatever they could carry, 
whilst the men held the King's ofHcers in check. 
A young man who was content with a *' living 
wage " on sea or on land wasn't thought much of 
by the black-haired, black-eyed damsels of the 
coast, who were up to snuff in the free-trade 
principles of their day and generation. The 
children were taught to look upon the sea as 
their own, and to regard smuggling as an honour- 
able calling, and thousands of infant tongues 
prayed at night for God's blessing on smuggling 
ventures. And the Church was with the people, 
and blessed them, and shared their profits 
when there was no danger of being found out. 
** Nothing venture, nothing have " was the good 
old motto bound upon the smugglers' arms and 



I> 



A SHORT COT. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 49 

hearts like phylacteries, and was to them as 
prayer. 

Uncle Bill had a pen'ard of gin in his beer 
to clear his pipes one evening, and told us some 
yarns which he had heard from his father, who 
was called Enoch, who died in his bed at the age 
of ninety-six, and would have lived longer, only 
he '^ catched a cauld dm washing his feet in fresh 
water." 

Uncle Bill was a young man, but not too 
young to go courting when his father made his 
last run across the Channel for a cargo of spirits. 
It came about in this way. Enoch and his family 
possessed five hundred one-pound notes issued 
by a bank which had failed, and so were prac- 
tically worthless. This was a serious matter, 
and Enoch proposed, at the family council, to run 
across to Brittany and exchange the worthless 
notes for tubs of good brandy. Everything was 
done in secrecy and in hot haste to prevent 
suspicion, and to get the cargo of contraband on 
board before news of the bank's failure reached 
the French merchants. Had they been members 
of the Japanese Intelligence Department they 
could not have kept the secret better. They had 
a splendid run, landed the cargo all serene, and 
cleared cent per cent 

" I have often blessed God that there were 
no tel^^phs in those days,'' said Uncle Bill, 
fervently. 



50 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

" What became of the notes ? '* asked Guy. 

" I don't know," replied Uncle Bill, with a 
lively wink. " All I know is we had the brandy/' 

" Is this genuine, or only make*up ? " asked 
Guy. 

" As true as the Gospel," replied Uncle Bill. 

He told us many other stories, but we thought 
this best worth preserving, as it showed native 
cunning, promptness, and audacity. 

'' And I have lived to hear a man bless God 
that there were no such things as electric tele- 
graphsy" said the Bookworm, realizing that he 
was now in an England of a century ago. 

Uncle Bill was a good old sort, and once 
when he came to see us he pulled a medicine- 
bottle from the folds of his knitted frock, and, 
taking out the cork, invited us to taste. It was 
pure cognac, and its flavour was what the old 
man called '^rich." The spirit had not been 
coloured, and had a history, which the old man 
told with relish. News was one day brought 
to the coastguard station by a boatman that a 
cask was stranded on an adjacent beach, and the 
coastguard officer, who loved his joke and good 
company, summoned numerous good men and 
true (Uncle Bill being one) to go to the beach, 
and there hold an inquest upon the said cask and 
its contents. 

"My men," said the coastguard officer, "I 
summon you in the name of the Queen (God 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 51 

bless her) to come with me to Treganna beach, 
and to taste the contents of a cask which we 
shall find there. I think it's a brandy cask/' he 
added^ "and you are to act as Queen's tasters. 
Now, my men, if you declare that the contents 
of the cask are wines or spirits, then the same 
will be seized on behalf of the Crown, and the 
Excise will claim it ; and if you further declare 
that the contents taste of salt water, then the 
cask will be staved in, and the contents run out 
upon the beach. You are the jurors, and meet 
me here in half an hour. If any of 'ee have a 
tin can it might be handy,'' said he, with a wink. 

When the jurors met again, they all had some- 
thing in their hands in the shape of tin cans or 
pitchers ; and there were men upon this jury who 
had not tasted spirits at their own expense for 
many years, and they carried the largest pitchers. 

The coastguard officer produced a gimlet, and 
broached the cask, and every man tasted. 

"The smell of it was enough for me," said 
Uncle Bill; "but I tasted, like the rest It 
went down 'ansum, sure nuff. And some of us 
tasted again, to make sure for sartin." 

Says the coastguard officer, " What is it, my 
men ? " 

" Cognac." 

" So say you all ? " 

" One and all, for sure." 

" Then I seize the cask, in the Queen's name." 



52 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

He took out a bit of chalk, and marked the 
broad arrow upon it ; but our jugs were empty. 
The best of the game was to come. 

"Now, my men, tell me, as good men and 
true, whether the brandy has been touched with 
salt water." 

So we all tasted again, and said it was sickly, 
and brackish, and made such faces that you might 
think we were poisoned. 

" And so say you all ? " 

" Ess, one and all/' 

" And your verdict is that the cask of brandy, 
seized in the Queen's name, is brackish ? " 

" That is our verdict" 

" Then I order the cask to be stove in and 
its contents run upon the beach/' 

And when the head was stove in, he turned 
his back upon us, and every can and jug and 
pitcher was filled, and, if we'd only known, we'd 
have had more pails and buckets and pitchers. 

" I've got a drop still left, and 'tis precious," 
said Uncle Bill. 

This medicine-bottle was his gift to us, and 
we now knew the flavour of cognac cast upon 
the shore, which had never paid the Queen's 
penny. 

" I don't wonder that smuggling was popular," 
said Guy. 

Smuggling made the sort of sailor that Nelson 
loved, a man who could fight and forgive when 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 53 

worsted, like the old smuggler of Talland, who 
had it recorded on his tombstone that he prayed 
God to pardon those wicked preventive men 
who shed his innocent blood. 

It was in the Lizard district that smuggling 
reached its zenith. The Bookworm put a copy 
of the " Autobiography of a Smuggler " into his 
pocket when he tramped over to Prussia Cove, 
a place which Nature and a little art intended 
for an emporium for smugglers. Blind harbours, 
blind caves, hidden galleries, mysterious inlets 
and exits form a delicate network of safety and 
concealment Only a century ago, the man who 
lived here was the king of Cornish smugglers 
and privateers, and defended himself with his 
own cannon.* Now the fine caves are fern- 
arched, and the water drips, drips, drips upon 
nothing precious. The smugglers borrowed 
these caves from the piskies who have re-entered 
into possession, for here are the piskie sands and 
piskie caves. 

" Here, in cool grot, the piskies dwell," 
hummed Guy. 

The caves seemed none the worse for having 
been smugglers' storehouses ; but the gingerbeer 



* All ranks engaged in smuggling. Mr. Philip Hawkins, M.P. 
for Grampound, left £(iOo to the King as ''conscience" money. 
But privateering was a royal game, and men made money rapidly 
at the expense of the enemies of England. People used, it is said, 
to measure their gold in pint pots, instead of counting it. 



54 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

and sandwich man left his trail, as usual. What 
he couldn't reach or cut down, he left alone, but 
broken glass he left behind. 

Guy ran across a gentleman anxious to tell 
us things. He was a "pensioner/' The man 
with a pension is a common object by the sea- 
shore. After a time, you get to know him as a 
superior sort of being reduced from his high 
estate, and only making the two ends meet by 
the grace of God. **Get a pension, and don't 
worry" is very good advice when the pension 
is big enough ; but generally the pension-man is 
a trifle seedy — his pension won't spread all over 
him, but leaves him minus gloves, with patched 
shoes, and short everywhere. This honest old 
gentleman was Guy's find, and he was so eager 
to tell all he knew, and more on top of it, that 
Guy was glad, at last, to get rid of him with 
some excuse covered deftly with a small con- 
sideration. 






Chapter VII 



HERE is a good deal of history in 
Cornwall. Some may be read 
in stones, and some in books. 
The stone reading is very inte- 
resting to those who like it, and 
affords a good scope for imagi- 
nation. Without imagination, stone reading is a 
trifle dull. Stones are everywhere at the Land's 
End and Lizard — some are stationary, and some 
" rock," and all are very hard. The Bookworm 
had a trick of running his hands over the 
surfaces of pre-historic monuments, like a blind 
man reading. It was just a fancy of his that 
he was shaking hands with antiquity. Our Mr. 
Square-set put his pencil mark in our Murray 



$6 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

against what is called the "show-stones/' and 
he couldn't tell us much more than we could 
find out for ourselves. We thought it best 
to let ancient stone history alone until we had 
a dull Sunday, or a wet day ; and look out for 
what was nearer our own times. 

We found that the Cornishman's motto is 
" One and AH/' and that " One " comes first, so 
he says, " I and the King ; " and, when he speaks 
geographically, it is Cornwall first, then England, 
and then the rest Formerly, everything outside 
of England was Cornwall, but he is not so sure 
now. However, he always takes a bit of the old 
county with him when he travels, so that the 
piskies may find him. A Cornishman abroad is 
given to " wishtness," and so he gets up clubs in 
London and other places, and talks of pasties 
and cream, blue skies and sapphire seas, and 
sings "Trelawney," and dances the "Flurry" 
dance, and One and Alls it generally. 

The Cornish had their own kings and queens 
— and as the kings were liberal to themselves in 
the matter of queens, they were not always 
happy. The Bookworm helped us a good deal 
at times, and told us that the ancient kings were 
not much given to diplomatic correspondence, 
nor to the keeping of ** memorials of the reign," 
so that modern historians had a pretty free hand. 
The kings, however, must have been numerous 
at one time, as there was a king at Gweek and 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 57 



another at Marazion — ^as thick as tenants on a 
gentleman's estate, Cornish history had, however, 
been worked up by poets, and the characters of the 
old kings drawn by Tennyson and Kingsley were 
not too amiable. There was Tennyson's Cornish 
king, who had an uncomfortable way of sneaking 
round on tiptoe and striking a man in the back. 
The poet had not made allowance for the fact 
that King Modred lived in days before private 
inquiry offices were invented, and so was obliged 
to do his own dirty work, instead of employing 
a professional sneak at per hour and expenses. 
For real knowledge of Cornish kings, Kingsley 
whips creation. Listen ! 

'^Fat was the feasting, and loud was the 
harping, in the halls of Alef, King of Gweek." 
There was going to be a wedding, so that may 
pass. Then we come to details worthy of the poet 
historian: "Savory was the smell of fried pilchard 
and hake; more savory still that of roast por- 
poise; most savory of all that of fifty huge 
squab pies, built up of layers of apples, bacon^ 
onions, and mutton, and at the bottom of each a 
squab, or young cormorant, which diffused both 
through the pie and through the ambient air, a 
delicate odour of mingled guano and polecat." 
There was a little toddy, of course, to wash it 
down, and a few songs with harp accompaniment, 
and the bride, being properly elated with the 
perfume of ''guano and polecat," was very civil. 



58 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

and, being a princess in her own right, and queen 
of Marazion, gave the vocalist a ring to re- 
member her by. The next morning the newly- 
wedded pair start off on their honeymoon, and 
this is what happens. The King of Marazion 
grips his bride's arm until she screams, and 
says, ''And you shall pass your bridal night in 
my dog-kennel, after my dog-whip has taught 
you not to give rings again to wandering 
harpers/* 

Tennyson and Kingsley have been read pretty 
generally by men and women of the Anglo-Saxon 
race, and some people may even think that the 
Cornish kings were like these portraits, and fed 
upon "guano and polecat" flavoured pies, and 
whipped their brides to sleep in dog-kennels in 
their bridal garments. Poets have always been 
privileged. 

There were Cornish " kings," of course, just 
as there were Cornish ''saints'' and a Cornish 
language, and all three played their little 
parts, and went off the stage, without even the 
lights being turned down for them. With regard 
to the kings, this seemed to have happened : 
when the local rates and taxes were getting too 
high, and trouble was brewing about the Educa- 
tion Act, the kings saw that they must go under, 
and gave way to a Duke. Edward the Black 
Prince, having won his spurs in the Crusades, the 
kings asked him to take over what they could no 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 59 

longer keep, or didn't want, and so, ^'like a 
Comishman's gift, what he does not want for 
himself," became a proverb. The proverb may 
be relied on as authentic. The Prince of Wales 
has been the Duke of Cornwall ever since, so the 
Cornish people have had a very close connection 
with royalty from pre-historic times, as the Book- 
worm discovered; then through Kingsley's "guano 
and polecat *' period, and then from Edward the 
Black Prince down to the present, which we can 
verify for ourselves every year, when the Duchy 
accounts are published, and the ancient tribute 
passes into the noble Duke's banking account 
History loses much of its charm for poets and 
romantic souls when it enters the prosaic region 
of banker's ledger and cheque book, but this sort 
of prose has advantages. 

The Cornish had a long way to walk when 
they wanted just to talk matters over with their 
sovereign. They went in their thousands to 
London on several occasions when things were 
not to their liking, and the late Queen was the 
first sovereign of the realm to come into the 
county and •* God bless " the people on their own 
doorsteps. Charles I. came into the county 
under very peculiar circumstances, and, though 
he was qualifying for martyrdom, he found time 
to write a very handsome letter of thanks '^ to 
the Inhabitants of the county of Cornwall" for 
giving the Cromwelliams more than they bargained 



6o Cornish Saints and Sinners 

for, or wanted even, on several occasions. This 
letter is still to be found painted on boards 
in parish churches, and as conspicuously placed 
as the Lord's Prayer or the Ten Command- 
ments. The practice of reading the letter in 
churches and chapels has long been discontinued, 
but the testimony to unselfish devotion and 
gallant defence of a sovereign whose star was 
setting in blood remains. 

Good Queen Bess rather liked Cornishmen, 
or said she did, which answered the same purpose. 
She said that " Cornish gentlemen were all born 
courtiers, with a becoming confidence," two 
qualities which naturally attracted her as woman 
and lady. Climate probably has something to 
do with native politeness, and thstt is why the 
Eastern races are so civil to one another. 

The people are like Japs for politeness to 
one another on a deal When a man is drawing 
the long bow and coming it too strong, the other 
fellow will say, " I wonder if it is so,** with the 
slightest possible accent of suspicion in his tone. 
We were present when two men were trying to 
make a deal in horse-flesh, '' halter for halter," as 
the saying is. The owner of a weedy-looking 
chestnut wished to swop with the owner of a useful 
black cob, and his rhetoric was florid. Some- 
times he drew on his imagination in praise of the 
chestnut, and the owner of the black cob would 
say, "I wonder now," just by way of note of 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 6i 

admiration. Then the chestnut's owner, growing 
bolder and more vigorous in his style, garnished 
his language with many fancy words, and wound 
up by asking, " Doan't 'ee believe me?" And 
the other man replied, as politely as a Chester- 
field, " rU believe *ee to oblige 'ee.'* The Foreign 
Office couldn't beat it 

The Bookworm discovered that Cornwall had 
somehow linked itself with great names in history, 
or, rather, that some great names had linked 
themselves with Cornwall, using her as a gallant 
for a season, and then passing out of her life. 
Camdford had three successful wooers in Lord 
Lansdowne, Lord Brougham, and '* Ossian " 
Macpherson; Lostwithiel was wooed and won 
by Joseph Addison ; then Horace Walpole, jilted 
at Callington, made up to East Looe, still attrac- 
tive, when the great Lord Palmerston came along 
with a buttonhole in his coat and the blarney. 
Then John Hampden found a first love in Gram- 
pound, and Sir Francis Drake a soft place in the 
bosom of Bossiney, a mere village close to the 
angry roar of Tintagel's sea. But all these seats 
were mere lights o' love, and some were swept 
away on account of their dissoluteness before the 
great Reform Bill, and then the rest went, and 
none were remembered on account of their gallant 
political lovers. Guy said it didn't make a bit of 
difference what the constituency was, or where, 
so long as the man was right. He saw a great 



62 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

many advantages in the old pocket borough ; and 
if he ever went into Parliament (which he might) 
as a stepping-stone to the Woolsack (like the 
veteran Lord Chancellor, who found comfortable 
quarters at Launceston), he'd like to have the 
fewest number of constituents, and those all of 
one mind. But the Bookworm would not have 
it that way, and stuck to his guns that it was the 
constituency which really had a seat in Parlia- 
ment, and constituency and member were one 
and indivisible ; and when not, there was failure 
somewhere in first principles. The Bookworm 
always takes these things so seriously, Guy says. 



Chapter VIII 



OST of the saints came into 
Cornwall, dropping little bits of 
fame and reputation as they 
travelled from parish to parish, 
and from holy well to holy well. 
Old Fuller says they were born 
under a travelling planet, " neither bred where 
born, nor beneficed where bred, nor buried where 
beneficed," but wandering ever. Cornwall is 
known as the " Land of Saints," and county 
teams are usually " Saints." " The Saints v. 
63 



64 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

Week-enders. Six goals to three. Five to one 
on Saints/' It sounds a bit curiouSi but you get 
used to it. 

The true story of the saints is a little mixed ; 
the giants and the piskies come in, and wherever 
the saints went there was sure to be trouble. 
We picked up a few stories, not all in one place, 
but here and there. Those already published we 
weeded out, together with some which appeared 
doubtful. Some needed a little patching up in 
places, and the Bookworm said the most im- 
perfect were the most genuine. The following 
were thought worthy of survival. 

King Tewdrig and the Saints. 

Irish saints swarmed as thick as flies in 
summer in the reign of Tewdrig the King, who 
built his castle on the sands at Hayle, wherein it 
now is, only the X-rays are not strong enough to 
make it visible. This Tewdrig was a good old 
sort, and was called Theodore by the saints as 
long as he had anything to give. But the saints 
letting it be known in the distressful land that 
they had struck oil, their friends and relatives 
swarmed across the Channel in such crowds that 
the King was in danger of being eaten out of 
house and home. He summoned the Keeper of 
the Victuals, and asked for a report. He had it ; 
and it was short and sad — as sad in its way as 



KING TREWDIG AND THE SAINTS. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 65 

an army stores inquiry. Every living thing in 
air and field and wood had been devoured. All 
the salted meats in the keeves had disappeared, 
"and if you don*t stop this immigration of Irish 
saints/' said the unhappy official, '^we shall be 
eaten up alive." The good King became serious. 
Whilst they were talking, a messenger came 
with the news that a great batch of saints had 
come ashore. The King and his Keeper of the 
Victuals — when there were any to keep — looked at 
each other solemnly. " Put the castle in mourn- 
ing," said the King. When the new arrivals danced 
up to the gate, with teeth well set for action 
and stomachs empty, the Keeper of the Victuals 
spoke sadly. " The good King died," he said, 
''the moment he heard that more saints had 
arrived. Those who came first ate all his sub- 
stance and emptied his keeves, and there was 
nothing left of him now but bones. The last 
words of the good King were, 'Give them my 
bones.' " The Keeper of the Victuals turned, as 
thpugh to fetch the good King's bones for the 
saints to feast on ; but they one and all departed 
and spread the story. The King played the 
game and ordered his own funeral; and when 
the time came, he got up and looked through a 
peep-hole to see the procession. "The saints," 
said he, "have spared my bones, but they will 
surely come and see the last of me." But he was 
mistaken. The story that all the keeves were 

F 



66 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

empty spread, and there wasn't a " saint " left in 
the land on the morrow. Then the King showed 
himself to his own people, and a law was passed, 
intituled " An Act against Alien Saints' Immi- 
gration." The country recovered its ancient 
prosperity, and the Keeper of the Victuals filled 
the keeves with salted meats, and there were 
wild birds in the air, and beasts in the field, and 
the King once more feasted in his own hall. 

St. la came across the Channel on a cabbage 
leaf, and the wind and tide carried her gaily to 
King Tewdrig's shore, but when the Customs 
asked hqr what she had to declare, she only held 
up the cabbage leaf. As she was a princess in 
her own right, and good-looking for an emigrant, 
the Customs officers were sad, but showed her 
a printed paper, rule xli, which stated that 
*' foreigners without luggage, or visible means of 
subsistence, must not be allowed to land." The 
saint pointed to the cabbage leaf, and argued that 
it was "luggage" and "visible means of sub- 
sistence," and would have made good her point 
but for the King's Chancellor, who said that the 
cabbage leaf, being ** pickled," was a manufactured 
article, and liable to duty under the new fiscal 
regulations. St. la always left her purse at home 
when she travelled, so she was unable to pay the 
duty. Once more she committed herself to the 
mercies of the sea on her cabbage leaf, and was 
carried to St. Ives, where she landed, and was 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 67 

made much of. She stayed there for a time> 
planted her leaf, and was blessed with a won- 
derful crop of pickled cabbages, the like of which 
had never before been seen or heard of, But 
she revenged herself upon King Tewdrig by 
writing to all the papers^ and the saints, who 
deserted the King when they had almost eaten 
him up, made a fine how-de-doo, and an *' Irish 
grievance," and the bad name which they gave 
the King stuck to him. The saints wrote the 
books in those days, and those who came after 
repeated what they wrote, until the people 
believed, and called it " history." 

Guy said it was very unconstitutional to lay 
the fault upon the King, who, it was well known, 
could do no wrong. It was the duty of the Prime 
Minister to bear all faults, and it was noticeable 
that many prime ministers were round-shouldered, 
so that they might carry faults lightly. 

The Battle of St. Breage. 

The saints and piskies had a battle-royal at 
''St. Breage. A three-line whip was sent over to 
Ireland, and as soon as it was known that there 
was a little fighting to do, and a cracked skull 
almost certain, for the glory of God, the saints 
sent up a shout, straightened their blackthorns, 
and came across the water in whole battalions. 
The cause was popular. St. Patrick had driven 



68 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

the snakes into the sea, and why not the saints 
drive the piskies out of Cornwall ? Hooroo ! 
Paddy's blood was up, and he was spoiling^ for a 
bit of fun. The saints had the best of it, but so 
much blood was spilt on both sides that the sand 
was turned into stone. There is no other such 
stone in the district, and St Breage had a block 
carved into a cross, and set up as a memorial, 
which may be seen to this day, only it has a hole 
in it which was made by the Giant Colons, who 
wore it on his watch-chain until the date of his 
conversion. 

" When anything has to be accounted for in 
this land, put it down to the saints, or the piskies, 
or Old Artful, and you're sure to be right 
Nothing ever took place in the ordinary course 
of things. A month of Cornwall would be enough 
to drive a modern scientist stark, staring mad,'* 
said Guy. 

'' It would be curious to speculate what sort 
of world we should be living in to-day if things 
really happened, as they are said to have hap- 
pened, between fairies and piskies, saints and 
giants, each possessing supernatural powers. And 
yet law and custom grew out of beliefs in the 
invisible-visible," said the Bookworm. 

The Story of an Artful Maid. 

There were she-saints as well as he-saints, 
and when a she-saint came to the front she made 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 69 



a sensation. St Agnes was a she-saint. She 
was not born a saint, but became one. She was 
christened Ann, plain Ann, and was a good little 
girl, with blue eyes, and light brown hair much 
given to curl into love locks. She stayed at 
home until she grew up, and became restless, and 
wanted to see the world for herself. She did not 
complain more than other girls that her dresses 
were not tailor-made, and she had no particular 
grievance, only she felt that she must have a 
change. She wrote a dear little note, and en- 
closed one of her love locks to her dear and 
loving parents, freely forgiving them all the 
trouble and expense she had been to them, and 
went on her own. 

She was supposed to be delicate on the chest, 
and Cornwall having a great reputation, she made 
all haste to get there. In those days there were 
a good many pilgrims on the road who used to 
entertain one another with stories of many lands 
and their adventures therein, and delicate little 
Agnes heard in this way about a famous Cornish 
giant, named Bolster. Mr. Bolster was in many 
respects a monster, and his story had great 
interest for little Agnes, because it was said he 
changed his wife every New Year's Day. He 
was called '' Bolster" because he used to smother 
the old ones. Agnes wanted an adventure, and 
as her saint-like qualities developed, she felt 
more and more drawn towards Mr. Bolster, until 



70 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

she determined to try her hand upon him. It 
was a bold thing ; but Agnes was bold, and when 
she felt at all timid she said aloud, " Courage ! " 

Mr. Bolster was a very fine fellow, the 
Colossus of his age. When his right foot rested 
on the summit of one hill his left foot rested on 
the summit of another, and the only thing that 
troubled him was corns, and when the weather 
changed, sometimes he had such twinges that he 
often thought he had a " conscience," and wished 
to get rid of it At other times his conscience 
was "passive/' Agnes heard about the corns, 
and a light played in her eyes of heavenly blue. 
She had an idea. 

New Year was approaching, and Mr. Bolster 
was on the look-out for a fresh partner of his 
joys. When Agnes sighted him he was standing 
with one foot on Cam Brea and the other on 
Beacon, looking at the little virgins round about 
playing at '' touch." His habit was to make a 
selection, watch the young lady home, and then, 
at New Year's dawn, to carry her off just when 
she was busiest dreaming of mince-pies. Agnes 
guessed that the psychological moment had come, 
so she walked up Carn Brea and tickled Mr. 
Bolster's right foot with a bramble, quite close 
to his pet corn. Mr. Bolster, thinking that 
conscience was at him again, lifted his foot 
angrily ; but, happily for Agnes, saw her kneeling 
at his foot 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 



71 



** HuUoa ! " he shouted. 
Agnes presented her card. 



Beautiful for Ever! 

MISS AGNES. 

Corns Extracted^ Bunions Attended to. 



Beauty at his feet, and the New Year near. 
Corns extracted. Was there ever such luck ? 
So he took the little maiden up in his arms and 
promised, then and there, that she should be the 
next Mrs. Bolster. " Not long to wait," he 
added with a chuckle, the present Mrs. B. not 
having turned out to his liking. 

Mr. Bolster had neglected his personal 
appearance very much lately, and when he sat 
Agnes on his knee in the gloaming, she began 
his education. " Beautiful for Ever ! " was her 
trade mark. If Bolster only wore curls, what 
a head I Hyacinthine locks, what an Apollo ! 
Bolster looked at her dear little love locks, and 
then put his great hand over his own hair, which 
was long and matted, and began to think that, 
after all, short, crisp curls would be an improve- 
ment He did not surrender at once, but Agnes 
said she couldn't, she really couldn't, be the next 
Mrs. Bolster and trim his pet corns unless he 
had hyacinthine locks, like an up-to-date hero 



72 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

in a novel. She found a bit of chalk and drew 
on a blackboard the head of a Hercules with 
Apollo's locks. Mr. Bolster was touched in a 
weak spot, and to keep him soft, Agnes vowed 
that she would never be Mrs. Bolster until he 
was such a man — such a curled darling. 

Mr. Bolster's hair was long and matted, and 
Agnes got a rake, and combed and combed until 
it all came off, and there was none to curl. New 
Year came, and Mrs. Bolster in possession went 
the way of all the giant's wives, and Agnes sat 
upon Bolster's knee and wept because of her 
vow which she must keep — no curls, no Agnes* 
She stroked his bald pate, saying the new hair 
was sprouting already, and it would curl so sweet 
when short that his own mother wouldn't know 
him. Then Agnes put him on health diet to 
make him young again, and when his hair really 
began to grow she became afraid, for she caught 
him heating the curling-tongs in secret, as though 
he meant business at an early date. 

Agnes sat upon his knee and wept. He was 
so stout. She could not clasp his manly waist. 
He must reduce — he must, he must The tears 
were in her beautiful eyes. Once more she 
touched the spot, and Mr. Bolster, the Colossus, 
was soft. He'd do anything, and then he took 
an oath at which the stars trembled. 

There was a little basin in the rock which 
the giant used for shaving-water now he had 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 73 

become a dandy. Water trickled down the 
crevice into the sea when the cork plug was 
removed. Agnes prescribed a little blood-letting 
— for she was skilled in phlebotomy — "just a 
basinful, you know/' said she, with great pleading 
eyes of heavenly blue. Mr. Bolster threw his 
mighty arm carelessly across the basin. 

"Only a basinful this time/' said Agnes, 
pulling out the plug. 

" Wake me up when it's full/' said Bolster. 

He slept and slept, dreaming of Agnes, and 
the vital stream flowed and ran down the crevice 
into the sea. And Agnes looked over the cliff 
and saw the sea blush, and blush deeper still. 

"Is it nearly full ? " asked Bolster, in a tone 
of lazy happiness. 

" Not yet — not yet, my love," said Agnes, 
stroking his bald head where the curls were 
to grow. 

So he slept and woke again, and asked, 
" Is it nearly full ? " 

" Yet a little more ; it runs so slowly now," 
said Agnes. 

And Bolster slept again. 

Agnes looked over the cliff and the sea was 
deeply dyed, so great a stream had flowed from 
the mighty form, smiling in sleep, but pale in 
death. 

He woke and tried to rise, but Agnes soothed 
him, saying — 



74 Cornish Saints and Sinners 



" But a little more, 'tis nearly to the brim/' 

And his last vision was of Agnes. 

So the land was rid of Bolster; but the 
people were not so thankful to Agnes as they 
might have been, so she "skipped." She led 
a wandering life, making and selling an ointment 
which people rubbed over their eyes to make 
them see clearer, and her fame followed her, so 
people began to praise and dedicate churches 
to her. The place where Bolster was slain 
became St. Agnes, and the basin into which his 
life's blood flowed may be seen to this day. A 
pebble thrown in finds its way to the sea if there 
is nothing to prevent it. 

Guy said he liked to hear stories told on the 
spot, things seemed so real. Here was the very 
basin which held Bolster's shaving-water before 
it became the receiver for his blood. Just as 
good being here as reading an illustrated article 
in a magazine. 

The Bookworm said the story was only one 
of a class, and it was quite easy to separate fact 
from fiction when we once knew how. In this 
case, Bolster was not a real person, but a snow- 
god, to whom the people offered a virgin every 
New Year to make him melt and let the earth 
bring forth her increase. St. Agnes made the 
people see the error of their ways — that was the 
ointment which she made for giving people 
clearer vision — and so it was said that she had 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 75 

slain Bolster. She was, no doubt, artful, and was 
all the more popular tn consequence, it becoming 
a saying that " an artful maid is stronger than 
Bolster." 

Guy said he liked the story best as it was, 
and had no patience with the Bookworm's treat- 
ment of it as a myth. He'd put money on 
Agnes, he said, to make her way in the world 
as well as any twentieth-century woman. 







Chapter IX 



LIKING for stones of the saints 
grows with the supply. The 
Bookworm discovered in them 
the makings of history, and 
Guy mere love for the mar- 
vellous and dramatic situations. 
He thought St. Agnes would work up splendidly. 
It is well that saints catch on, because one can't 
get away^from them. No sooner is one out of 
the parish of St. A., than he's into the parish of 
St. B., and from St. 6. to St. C, and so on 
through the alphabet It must have been a sore 
trial to the aborigines to see so many foreign 
76 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 77 

saints upon the soil without visible means of 
subsistence, yet claiming exemption from income 
tax. 

Wherever there was a well a saint took 
possession of it The votive offerings of the 
natives to the bright, sparkling divinity dwelling 
in springs of water passed into their hands, the 
water cures became '' miracles," and chapels and 
baptistries were built over the wells. Chapels 
and hermits' cells abound. There is one spring 
which insures a man from hanging if he is but 
christened with its water in childhood. There is 
another, in which a madman may be ducked until 
he is cured ; there is another, in which a maiden 
may see her "future;" and there are others 
which can cure sad souls and sadder bodies. 

As things are reckoned now, the best of the 
saints did not have a good time. The ruined 
chapel in the Saints' Valley was at one time the 
residence of a holy man, who never saw human 
form, or heard human voice, unless some one in 
distress needed his good offices to heal or console 
the sick or dying. It was a dark and dreary cell, 
with two slits in the walls for light and air, and a 
thin stream trickled through, and fell into a rocky 
basin outside, now green with fern and lichen. 
This feeble stream cut a channel in the rock, so 
we thought the cell must be pretty old ; but there 
was no niche, or anything to show that lamp or 
image swung from the roof, or nestled somewhere 



78 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

to cheer the poor man. Whoever he was, he 
left no trace, not even a scratch in the rock 
recording his name. We would not have been 
much the wiser, after all, even if we had known 
the name of the poor human who endured torture 
here, and had the courage to live, and not throw 
himself to the first wolves who came howling 
around. 

The ideas conjured up were unpleasant, and 
Guy gave a shout when he got outside, just to be 
sure that he was himself. He was sure, he said, 
no penal settlement in the world possessed a 
solitary system so depressingly solitary as this. 
He was quite prepared to take an affidavit 
neither now, nor at any time, to go in for honours 
in saintship. 

The Bookworm said stories of the saints made 
what we saw much more interesting than if we 
merely looked at them through the eyes of guide- 
books. There was the " Cheese-wring." What 
did Murray say ? Just this — 

''This remarkable object consists of tabular 
blocks of granite heaped one upon the other, after 
the manner of cheeses, to the height of twenty- 
four feet, but has probably acquired its name 
from its supposed resemblance to the press 
employed in the preparation of cider. ... It 
derives its extraordinary appearance from the 
circumstance of the stones at the base^being less 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 79 

than half the size of those they support, which are 
ten or twelve feet in diameter. Hence, the shape 
of the pile is that of a huge fungus, with a stalk 
so slenderly proportioned for the weight of the 
head, that the spectator will find it hard to divest 
himself of the idea of its instability/' 

He had, he said, made notes of a short 
story which accounted for the fantastic mass of 
weathered granite in quite a different way, and 
made of the stone a lasting memorial of the 
triumph of the saints over the early giants in the 
land — faith against strength. 



St. Tue and the Giants. 

The story opened at a period when the saints 
had been some time in the land, and the people 
took kindly to them, and brought them fish on 
Fridays. The giants grew jealous, and resolved 
on holding a conference, and when they were all 
assembled, Uther was voted to the chair, because 
he had the broadest shoulders and the best head- 
piece of all the race from the Tamar to Pol- 
Pedyn. The question was. What shall we do 
with the saints.^ Various methods had been 
already tried — boiling, baking, and grilling were 
no use. The giants were not a united family, 
and were fond of hurling rocks at one another, 
and fighting and wrestling for fun or glory, just 



8o Cornish Saints and Sinners 

as the humour prompted. Uther, the president, 
put the matter before them in a statesmanlike 
way. First of all, he counted six up, and then 
he counted half a dozen; then he said, if you 
take six from six, there's nothing, but if you wipe 
out six, six remains. The speech was so precise 
and clear, that it was pencilled down on a half- 
sheet of notepaper, and, in time, became the 
model for future prime ministers. It was cer- 
tainly very well received. Then there was a 
discussion, and some said one thing, and some 
another, and when all spoke at once, it was very 
difficult to know what was said or meant. The 
president tried to keep order, but was just as 
helpless as Mr. Speaker in modem days. Fortu- 
nately it was an open-air meeting, and the sky 
was not cracked. 

Saint Tue had a little well all to himself, but 
was a small and weakly man, who took cod-liver 
oil fasting; but he was young and full of zeal. 
The conference was held in what he called his 
*• sphere of influence," and when he heard the 
mighty shouts, he looked upwards and saw a sign. 
Then he hastened to the conference, and, by 
dodging in and out between the giants' legs, 
he managed to reach the president, who was 
threatening to leave the chair unless better order 
was kept. 

" Pick me up,'' said St Tue. 

So Uther picked him up and showed him to 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 8i 

the assembly ; and, being a strong man himself, 
he admired pluck. 

" What do you want here, my little man ? " 
asked Uther, thinking into which pocket he 
should pop him to ensure his safety. 

" I want to challenge you to a trial of strength ; 
but let me speak to the giants," replied the saint. 

Uther stood St. Tue on the palm of his hand 
and held out his arm, so that he might speak, 
which he did in a loud voice, telling them solemnly 
that they were warring against heaven and one 
mightier than they, and finished by challenging 
the mightiest to a contest of rock-hurling. If he 
were beaten, all the saints would leave the land ; 
but if he won, then the giants were to cease their 
persecution and be baptized with the sign of the 
cross. 

Now, Uther was a champion rock-hurler, and 
it was a pastime with him to throw rocks like 
quoits, and so truly as to balance them one over 
the other, the top being the largest The game 
was no child's play; and the assembly said if 
Uther would accept the challenge, they would 
abide by the result. When they looked at St. 
Tue and the rocks to be hurled, they laughed 
mockingly. 

There were twelve rocks in all. They had 
been used before, and were fairly round. The 
smallest was hurled first, and Uther pitched it 
one hundred feet. St Tue's knees shook. What 



82 Cornish Saints and Sinners 



if his faith should fail now ? He cast his eyes 
upwards, and then, oh, blessed miracle ! the rock 
was as a feather in his hand, and he hurled it 
with such precision that it capped number one as 
though it grew there. 

So the game went on, and the pile grew more 
and more like a mushroom. The giants shouted 
mightily when Uther's rock capped the saint's; 
but when the saint's capped Uther's, they groaned 
aloud, and showed temper. 

It was the saint's turn to hurl the last rock, 
which, being the heaviest and largest, and having 
to be thrown the highest, required the greatest 
skill and judgment and strength. The slightest 
error, and the pile would topple over. The 
silence was so great that a grasshopper was heard 
to chirp. True as a die the rock settled on the 
rest, and the whole mass swayed upon its stem, 
but fell not. 

The victory was not yet, and a thirteenth 
rock was brought, and so huge was it that the 
giant knew it was beyond his powers to hurl ; but 
he raised it with both hands and threw it with all 
his might and strength, and fell prone to earth, 
exhausted. The rock fell short, and was rolled 
back to where St. Tue stood, trembling once 
again. Would Heaven fail him now? But no. 
His eyes were opened, and he saw an angelic 
host raise the stone to his hand, carry it through 
the air, and place it as a crown upon the ** wring," 



THE LEGEND OF THE CHEESB-WRIKC. 



r 



Cornish Saints and' Sinners 83 

that man might wonder at for evermore. But 
the giants were blind with rage, and saw not 

Then Uther bowed his head in humility and ^ 
confessed his sins, and was baptized ; and some 
followed his example, but more returned to their 
castles and did what scathe they could. But the 
saints rejoiced when they heard what St. Tue had 
done, and were made free of the land ; and made 
so free with it that all the best they took to them- 
selves, and so pursued the giants with soap and 
water and Sunday clothes, and so trimmed their 
beards and nails, that the race dwindled and 
dwindled and died out. So the saints triumphed, 
and the Cheese- wring is their memorial. 

St. Tue founded the " Union of Saints," and 
then his troubles began in such earnest that he 
had to increase his doses of cod-liver oil in order 
to bear them. He was nursed in his last days by 
the good St. Keyne, who came over from Wales 
for the purpose. An elm, an oak, and an ash 
tree grew over his grave, whose roots formed an 
arch, and under the arCh a spring of pure water 
gushed forth. So St Keyne lived by the well, 
and Cornish brides^ drinking first of the water, 
wear divided skirts, and feed their husbands with 
long spoons. 

Guy said he thought we had had enough of 
saints, both he and she, for the present 



Chapter X 




/]HE Cornish taste has not hither- 
to rioted in "graven images." 
Ancient monuments were so 
plentiful that it may have been 
thought quite unnecessary to add 
to the number in any shape or 
from, especially when it was known that the finest 
monoliths were split up and carted away for gate- 
posts for cattle to rub against ; or, worse than all, 
be burnt for lime. However, graven images are 
rare in the county. A good citizen of Edinburgh 
or GlaEgow would put all the statuary in the 
county in his back garden. Sir Humphry Davy 
84 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 85 

stands outside the market at Penzance, and 
Richard Lander, the plucky African traveller, is 
skied on a Doric column on the top of a hill in 
Truro. Foote, the comedian, Polwhele, county 
historian, and Henry Martyn, the sainted mis- 
sionary, over whose barren love story and early 
death rivers of salt tears have flowed, were all 
born in Truro; but we didn't see any graven 
images recording the fact. Guy sought informa- 
tion from an intelligent policeman, who said he 
knew Henry Martyn well, and a quiet man he was, 
when sober ! There are some capital sites in the 
city for a few statues to Cornish worthies, and the 
effigy of the sainted Martyn would, at all events, 
help to preserve his memory from sad imputa- 
tions. There is a Cornish flavour about the great 
Earl of Chatham, who should have been born at 
the family mansion at Boconnoc instead of at 
Westminster, where his mother happened to be ; 
and a Cornish flavour, too, about the gifted Lady 
Hester Stanhope, who did not forget to speak 
well of Cornish miners, "on account of their 
race," in her Syrian home. Cousin Jack might 
remember this, and shell out liberally, if the public 
fancy runs one day towards statues. The Moles- 
worths have a claim to be set up in marble, and 
so has Richard Trevithick, the Camborne miner, 
and so also John Couch Adams, the discoverer of 
the planet Neptune. These are a few worthies 
to go on with, and by the time their statues are 



86 Gornish Saints and Sinners 

unveiled some, now living, may be ripe for immor- 
tality in stone. The few modern monuments are 
not remarkable, as such. The Gilbert monument, 
at Bodmin, outgrew its strength, and is not likely 
to startle remote posterity as a nineteeth-century 
antiquity. Once upon a time there was a battle 
at Stamford Hill, not far from Bude, when Sir 
Bevill Grenvill and his stalwarts gave the Round- 
heads a fair drubbing. Then a monument was 
erected to record the historic event, and it tumbled 
down. Sir Bevill Grenvill had a giant servant, 
named Anthony Payne, and the great Kneller 
painted his portrait, and the canvas has a place of 
honour in the museum of the Royal Institution. 
The Bookworm remarked that it was not at all 
singular that the county had turned out no sculp- 
tors, when public bodies did so little to encourage 
art, and that what they did was done so badly. 

Truro is not the capital of the county, though 
many people think it ought to be. It has a 
cathedral now, which counts for something, and is 
the home of the "classy" people, which counts 
for a great deal when the question is one of 
capital with a big C. Every few years there is a 
battle-royal over the capital question, and the 
archaeologists and the antiquarians dust each 
other with seals and charters, Domesday Books 
and inquisitions, and all the rest of it The grand 
tournament is between Bodmin and Launceston, 
which latter possesses an old castle, or what is left 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 87 

of one, and was anciently the place for the hanging 
of criminals for capital offences. B ut as the judges 
were served with small beer at dinner, and their 
beds were not properly aired, they moved on to 
Bodmin, where the beer was stronger, and the 
bed-linen better looked after. Besides, the tallow 
candles gave better light in the Bodmin than in 
the Launceston lodgings, which was important to 
judges on circuit, when they had to sit up late 
and read papers, and ** liote up " evidence badly 
written with their own hand and bad pens. The 
Launceston people didn't seem to care much about 
their privileges at the time of losing them. In 
fact, they were just then feeling sore at having lost 
one member of Parliament under the Reform Bill, 
and the market was flat for honours which didn't 
mean cash in hand. Then Bodmin took on the 
assizes, and the hangings, and became the capital 
with a big C, and built a lunatic asylum and a 
jail, up to date. The question now is whether 
our Gracious Lord the King would hold out a 
little finger to the Mayor of Launceston or to the 
Mayor of Bodmin as most truly representing the 
capital of Cornwall. The point has to be settled. 
Then Truro comes in and laughs at both, and, 
pointing to its cathedral, says, **!( you want a 
capital with a big C, look here/' which pleases all 
the " classy " people, and sets the rest laughing, 
except the ancient Britons of Penzance, who 
swagger about climate, also with a big C. As 



88 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

climate and capital both begin with C, it is easy 
to argue that they are very much alike. Bodmin 
and Launceston tilt in rusty armour, and Truro 
and Penzance with bodkins, and no harm is done. 
The Bookworm made a tour of the libraries 
and museums, and somewhere met a '' kindred 
soul," which so pleased him that he pronounced 
Truro the literary town in the duchy. Certainly, 
the city has a professorial air, which is native. If 
ever there is a Cornish university it will come to 
Truro, if it walk upon crutches to get there. 
Caps and gowns taking snuff and looking lexi- 
cons coming out of the shadow of Church Lane 
would be as natural as life ; and then the under- 
grads swelling Boscawen Street in term ! They 
are not there just now, but the place looks as 
though cut out for academic maternity. The pro- 
fessorial air belonged to the place before the 
cathedral was dreamt of — perhaps the cathedral 
came because the place had the right sort of style 
about it. There is a county look about the shops 
in Boscawen Street, which is all its own. Some 
of the shops just put up wire blinds, with a legend 
painted on them, discouraging to the vulgar 
looking for bargains and misfits. " Nothing of 
the sort here ; our customers write cheques, you 
know." There are other shops with "discount 
for cash " writ large all over them, but they seem 
out of place, somehow. There was always this sort 
of county family style about the town and people. 



" Taking snufT and louk'mg lexicoDS," 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 89 

who were always fond of sports, and had a 
cock-pit. 

What strikes the stranger first is the inexhaus- 
tible water supply. Miniature canals ripple along 
on both sides of the streets — clear, bright, fresh 
water, which would be worth no end of money in 
a thirsty land. Ripple, ripple, ripple, all day long, 
and all the year through, never overflowing, never 
drying up, a thing of beauty and a joy for ever. 
Hydrophobia is unknown amongst dogs, and is 
only observable amongst the higher animals — 
generally on pay days and holidays. The inhabi- 
tants, however, pay water taxes quite cheerfully, 
and are not extravagant users in their houses. It 
is a reproach to Londoners, who are so extrava- 
gant with water, to see how thrifty the people are. 
The people of Helston are blessed with water 
running free in the same way. 

Cornish people do not live much in towns ; 
they seem to prefer living amongst the rocks and 
trees, upon the downs, amongst the shadows of 
they know not what, and sounds which are as 
echoes from long ago. A very small town else- 
where fills the untravelled with amazement ; and 
stories are told of the cunning which was shown 
by an old man who carried a piece of chalk in his 
pocket and placed a mark on the corner of every 
street he turned, and so made his way plain when 
he wished to return; but the poor fellow was 
sadly puzzled when a joker rubbed out his marks 



90 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

and put facsimiles in wrong places. But, in 
truth, Cornish towns are not very puzzling to an 
ordinary pavement trotter, and the houses are 
not much to look at. Solid walls pierced with 
holes and covered by a roof is a *' house." There 
are whole streets like this in all the towns, and 
most of the shops have the appearance of being 
private houses *' accommodated." In a land 
where the Phoenician and Greek came, and the 
Roman dwelt ; where Spaniard, Frenchman, and 
Fleming settled, leaving their names and blood 
behind, one might expect to find specimens of 
the architecture of many periods and countries ; 
but it is no use looking for what does not exist. 
The Cornish never seem to have invited the envy 
and hatred of others by the outward beauty of 
their dwellings. The Fore Street of a town, 
however ancient and celebrated for riches and 
commerce, never gives one the idea that merchant 
princes dwelt here, and loved to dwell in earthly 
tabernacles with polished beams, and hanging 
galleries, and oriel windows, painted, decorated, 
and varnished, as we see in many a High Street, 
in many a town in the rest of England. The 
Cornish genius had no great turn for architecture 
— its municipal buildings are plain and thrifty, 
like the dwelling-houses. To be *'wind and 
water tight " is the native idea of comfort ; and 
then plenty of whitewash and a little paint There 
must have been native artists in abundance during 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 91 

the centuries, but they were seldom employed 
with chisel and brush in decorating private dwell- 
ings or corporation buildings. The county turned 
out one little painter who ''mixed his colours 
with brains/' and so became the rage for a London 
season ; but when you come to a town, don't 
inquire, " What artist was born here ? " The old 
people didn't throw away money on decorative 
art If there is a bit to be found anywhere, it 
is generally in or about a church, and stranger 
fingers executed it. 

On the moors, and on the coast, the idea of a 
dwelling is that of a stone hut with window and 
chimney, not so very much in advance of the 
dwellings of the Palaeolithic Age, which shows how 
slow the evolution of one idea may be whilst 
others are travelling at motor pace. Where 
stone abounds the dwelling is a cave above the 
ground; where stone is scarce the yellow earth 
is mixed with a little chopped straw, and makes 
a wall as much like the neighbouring soil as peas 
in a pod. This is " cob " wall, and, when covered 
with thatch and half hidden with flowering 
creepers, cob-wall cottages are pleasant to look 
at. Specimens of stone dwellings with thatched 
roofs abound in the Lizard district, and cob-wall 
cottages, more or less in ruins, are almost every- 
where. Men and women are in the habit of 
leaving their boots and clogs outside their dwell- 
ingS| and when the doors are open there is a 



92 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

great display of old crockery and china ornaments 
in stiff-looking cupboards with glass doors. Very 
like a painting by a Dutch artist is the interior of 
a Cornish cottage on a moor. 

Old fishing towns which have not yet been 
too much " improved " show the practical side of 
the Comishman's mind in the matter of dwellings. 
The idea of a street never occurred to him. What 
he wanted was a place on shore in which to store 
his nets and fishing gear, sails and spars, and 
over that a loft, which he divided into rooms 
fitted up with "lockers," like the cuddy of his 
boat, or the cabin of a ship, and that was his 
castle. He reached the ground by means of 
stone or wooden steps, having the appearance on 
land of steps let down from the gangway of a 
ship. In fact, the idea of a dwelling was that of 
a ship in stone, and the similarity was the greater 
when a " hatch " was lifted up in the kitchen and 
descent made into the cellar below, just as one 
would descend into the hold of a ship through 
the open hatchway. The Cornish fisher's idea of 
comfort was snugness. His dwelling overlooked 
the harbour, and he could see his boat lying to 
her moorings, and open his window and talk to 
the men as they passed, and consult the sky and 
clouds. He could do a lot from his window, his 
chin resting on his arms, with the least possible 
trouble to himself. When a fisher cannot live so 
as to see' the harbour from his window, he lives 



THE PORCH, LAUNCESTON CHURCH.^ 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 93 

as near the harbour as he can, so as to be out of 
his boat and into his bed in the shortest time. 
He detests walking one step further than he can 
help after he lands, so the idea of regular streets 
never dawned upon the original builders of Newlyn 
and St. Ives, Polperro and Looe, Fowey and 
Mevagissey. A street is an accident, unless it is | 

modern — ^the ancient builders of the old towns 

» 

deeming it sufficient to leave a gangway between 
the houses, as at Polperro, where a man with 
broad shoulders can block up the whole thorough- 
fare. In the villages and coves at the Lizard and 
the Land's End, the fishers' dwellings have a 
physiognomy in common, and tell of struggle 1 

and endurance ; and in favoured places, jasmine ] 

and myrtle, fuchsia, geranium, and roses step i 

in and cover all the weather-beaten stone and I 

shabby lintels with glory and perfume. 



Chapter XI 



T. IVES is small for its age, but 
is growing now. The town 
divides itself into two parts, the 
new and the old. The new is 
new, and the old is fragrant. 
The history of St. Ives also 
divides itself into two, the ancient and the modern ; 
and the ancient goes back to the time of the 
saints. It was a she-saint who founded St Ives. 
It is well to keep this in mind, because the well- 
known St, Ives was a lawyer, and so honest that 
he was never once struck off the rolls. Some of 
the piety of an ancient she-saint is said to linger 
about the town. It was she who introduced a 
new breed of cats, and the old town is still famous 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 95 

for cats. There are Manx cats and Persian cats 
and St Ives cats. The St. Ives cat is "at home" 
in the streets, and may be found in corners and 
on doorsteps, or stretched at full length across 
the roads, and sidewalks when there are any. 
St Ives is apparently owned by cats, so re- 
spectful are the inhabitants, and so careful not 
to tread on their tails or toes. If a cat is stretched 
out enjoying the sunshine, a man will drive his 
cart around it, to the danger of humans paying 
rates and taxes. The St Ives cat has a well- 
to-do, lascivious-looking air, and is only properly 
awake at nights. In the daytime the animal 
slinks along courts and side streets, and rubs 
itself against water-butts and tar-barrels and fish- 
flaskets, until it has an odour of mixed scents as 
strong as a distillery of perfumes. Nothing can 
beat pilchard oil mixed with garbage, which the 
St Ives cat loves. When the boats return in 
the early hours of the morning, the cats make 
tracks for the quay, and every cat knows its own 
boat, and waits for the men to come ashore, and 
then purrs and purrs, and rubs its scented fur 
against the men's long-boots. The men belong 
to the cats, every cat a man and every man a cat 
Women and mice don't count much with St Ives 
cats — ^it's men and fish for them. 



96 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

Smiler's Pious Cat. 

" Ded 'ee ever hear th' story of Smiler's cat ? 
No ? Well, then, I'll tell 'ee/' said a man, gutting 
a fish upon an iron post, and throwing tid-bits to 
a long lanky tabby with one mild blue eye and 
one a dark grassy green. " He wadn't a fighter, 
egcept he was provoked, and then he was game ; 
but he was a most orderly cat and pious. Now 
you may laugh, but ef iver there was a pious cat, 
'twas Smiler's. Smiler wadn't pious, but Bob was. 
Bob was black with a white tie round his neck, so 
he had a respectable appearance, and was looked 
up to by all the cats in the parish. Bob knew 
when Smiler had a good week, and knew where 
to find him when he'd had enough and 'twas time 
to go home. Smiler was a peaceful man at all 
times, and when he'd had full 'lowance, and more, 
he'd sit down and talk over old times, and his 
father and mother, and begin to cry. Then Bob 
would rub against his legs and make for the door, 
and Smiler would follow 'zackly like a cheeld — ess 
he would. When 'twas dark Bob 'ud walk back- 
'ards and show Smiler the way by the light of es 
eyes — starboard and port, port and starboard — 
till Smiler got home. Bob was that pious he 
wouldn't eat no vish on a Sunday, and he was so 
looked up to by all the cats that not one would 
run down to the quay on a Saturday or a Sunday 
night — not sure 'nuff— not if all the boats came 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 97 

in chock- vull of vish. * No Sunday vish for St. 
Ives ! ' was the motto with Bob, and all the cats 
followed. Smiler was that happy on Saturdays 
that he cudn't rise on Sundays, and Bob used to 
keep watch and listen to die Salvation Army 
services which he cud hear quite plain through 
the open window. Bob got to like the music 
and grew serious, and tuk to foUowin' th' band. 
People tuk notice, and said 'twas Smiler's Bob, 
and expected to see Smiler foUer the cat, as he 
did at nights when he was well * bowsed/ 

''Bob was going after Smiler one night, as 
usual, after 'sharing,' and, as ill fortune would 
have it, he met an old friend in the cat-line, and 
they went off together, which was sad for Smiler, 
who went wrong, and slipped into the water, 
without being seen or heard. Bob went about 
like a mazed cat, and never rested till he sniffed 
out Smiler, caught by a mooring chain. It was 
wonderful to see Bob foUerin' at the funeral, and 
many would have taken care ov him, but he had 
a ' call,' and foUered the Salvation Army, and to 
the last day of his innocent life would eat no vish 
on a Sunday — not no vish even caught on a 
Saturday ; no risks for Bob. If some people was 
only as good as some cats/' said the man, resuming 
work and throwing a morsel to the long lanky 
tabby, "why, then I say there'd be no call for 
bad blood between East and West on the score 
of Sunday fishing and Sunday markets." 

H 



98 Cornish Saints and Sinne/i^s 

''How do you account for this uncommon 
piety in a cat ? " asked Guy. 

*''Twas bred in him, s'poase. Anyhow, he 
was uncommon pious, and his good example is 
foUered. Thiccy theer cat wud no more ate vish 
catched on Sunday than he'd fly. Wad *ee, Tom ? " 

Tom purred. 

" I knawed it,'' said the man, washing the fish 
and pushing his forefinger through its gills. 

The St. Ives women always enjoyed the re- 
putation of being well endowed with tongue. 
Some people think their old vivacity is the result 
of foreign blood, but it is singular that the '' gift " 
of tongue should follow only in the female line. 
A St Ives man is quiet enough until his blood is 
up, and then he wants to hit something, or throw 
something overboard, and make a big noise in 
the open air. There is the story of three young 
women slipping into their pattens and going to 
the well with their pitchers for water. Their 
husbands were at sea. The young women began 
to talk, and they talked on and on until their 
husbands returned, and found them just at the 
beginning of an argument So they of) to sea 
once more, and back again, and the three women 
were still at the well, and getting interested in 
the argument Then the three men took a long 
voyage, and returning with well-lined purses 
found their wives, now grown white, still at the 




A CORNISH FISH WIFE, 



N 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 99 

well, but on the point of adjourning till the 
morrow to take up the thread of the old argu- 
ment 

The St Ives woman, however, has a turn for 
business. What her man catches she sells, and 
pays his bills for nets and barking and repairs. 
On land she's " boss," and has a " sharing cake " 
once a week when she settles accounts. The 
'' sharing cake'' is an ancient institution, and must 
be respected. It has its ceremonial, too, and 
must be broken with the fingers, not cut with a 
knife, because cold steel would bring bad luck. 
The customs of women are very different in the 
North and South. Like Newlyn, St Ives is the 
home of artists of world-wide reputation. 



Chapter XII 



r ^ I CORNISH Sunday to a man of 
I'^^j A I cities is a weariness to the flesh, 
M/ji I and a temptation to pray for 
HlHHHfl Monday to come quickly ; but for 
^^^^^^^1 the natives it is a blessed day — 
^^^^^"^^^ a day of feathers and soft down, 
a day for chewing the cud and being lazy without 
reproach. The fishermen rarely fish on Saturdays 
because the sacred idleness of the Sunday may be 
broken by the salesmen and railway porters — so 
the day of rest is made to stretch over as much 
of two days as is worth the having. Farmers are 
not so well off as fishers, but do what they can in 
the resting line, and that is something. When 



Cornish Saints and Sinners loi 

we walked through any of the villages on a 
Sunday we found the people mostly looking over 
their garden gates, casting glances ^'up-along/' 
or " down-along," or " athwart," just to see what 
was going on, and who was moving. They don't 
like cycles or cyclists on Sundays, and when one 
comes along all the men in their shirt-sleeves, 
and all the women helping them to do nothing, 
squirm as though wounded in a tender place. 
Every time it is the same — the same inward 
shrinking from activity on a day of rest. Those 
who do nothing all the week feel just the same, 
and lie about, and squat about, indoors, when not 
outside resting their ample chins upon ample 
arms upon gates and walls, staring ''up-along," 
and " down-along," and " athwart," watching one 
another. 

Whatever can sleep, sleeps, and the people 
don't seem properly awake until after tea, when 
the women make ready for chapel, and the men 
go after them. The men wouldn't stir but for 
the women, and the women make a bee-line for 
chapel. Sunday is given up to preaching and 
preachers. If you see a man driving on a 
Sunday, you may put him down for a " local " 
brother, who works at his trade all the week and 
is preacher on Sundays. You may know him by 
a certain smile of goodness that plays around his 
mouth, for he is going to have a good time. The 
lay preacher is a by-product of Methodism, and a 



I02 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

valuable one in large and scattered circuits too 
poor for anything but a little chapel of four walls 
and a brush of whitewash. The Methodist clergy 
live in the towns and work around the circuit, so 
the people in the villages see their minister some- 
times. The ordained minister is a "rounder," 
because of his travelling round. The lay, or 
"local/' brothers come in and fill up gaps, and 
they travel from place to place according to a 
" plan " — a sort of calendar and time-table com- 
bined. It is a system, and it works, and congre- 
gations are not wearied with the same face and 
voice two Sundays in succession. It is good for 
the lay brother, who can run one sermon for 
three months without much fear of being bowled 
out. 

The lay preacher is almost a professional once 
a week, and goes so far as to wear a clerical 
bowler, but the white necktie is reserved, as a 
rule, for his betters. There is no written law 
upon the subject, but it is understood that the 
white necktie is for the professional "rounder." 
The lay brother has privileges, and may drive 
proudly through the land of saints on Sundays 
and be welcomed, though no one else may let or 
hire a trap for love or money. The lay brother 
may not ride a bicycle, which is a pity, looked at 
from the side of horseflesh. 

"I'll drive 'ee to plaize 'ee, but I'd rather 
not," said a good-tempered landlord, one Sunday, 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 103 

when we wished to pay respects to an ancient 
monument. 

** Why would you rather not ? " 

^' People talk so, and say nasty things to the 
children/' 

''But some one has just driven past, and 
every one smiled and how-de-doo*d him." 

" That's oal right. He's goin' to praich." 

*' But the pony looked tired/' 

'' I shud zay so. Six mile and stiflish hills, 
and not wance ded ee git out ov th' trap/' 

" Do you mean that a preacher of the Gospel 
over-drives his horse ? " 

'' I mane that ef a hill is as stiff as a house a 
praicher won't never walk on a Zunday — not wan 
inch of th' way/' 

Now the vent-peg was out, our host's 
eloquence ran freely, and much he said of the 
over-driving and under-feeding of hired horses 
by lay preachers on Sundays, and of the reluc- 
tance which people had to take on the ''horse 
hire " contracts for the Sunday work, because the 
men who walked the hills fast enough in their 
weekday clothes would not walk an inch in their 
Sunday clothes when ''planned" for preaching. 
A false standard of dignity this, which made men 
cruel. And then the under-feeding? There is 
no excuse for this. The lay brother is served 
with all the luxuries of the season at the tables of 
the brethren on whom he is billeted as a soldier 






I04 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

of the cross, and should not forget the hard- 
working little animal which has dragged him the 
whole distance, and will have to drag him back 
again, and the worse the weather the quicker the 
pace. 

Lay preaching is the homely fare of Sunday 
congregations, who thrive on it because it 
suits them and sticks in their memories. The 
** higher criticism " is not wanted by them. Here 
are a few specimens, picked up in various places. 

" You'll never want friends whilst you've God 
and your victuals." 

** Some people's religion is like badly baked 
dough — put in with the bread and took out with 
the cakes.'* 

" What the Bible says is true, as true as I've 
a-got specketty stockings on." 

** I do pity the poor ould devil, he lost such a 
good plaace oal dm catching a cold en es faith. 
Ess, my dears, he was like some folks along weth 
we, who get boilin' hot when they'm convarted, 
and then catch chill dru sittin' en a draught." 

''There was wance a great man who gave a 
great supper to a braave lot of guests. And 
ded'm come? Not for sure, but they all sent 
excuses. Wan said, 'I've boughten a piece of 
land, an' must go an' try et ; ' an' another said, 
* I've boughten vive yoke of oxen, an' must try 
they ; ' an' another said, ' I've married a wife, an' 
must stap to home to try she.' 



f i> 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 105 

"Cast your bread upon the waters, and 
doan't 'ee luk fust to see whichee way th' wind es 
blawing. Aw, my dears, there's many a man 
wean't trust the Loard weth a penny loaf, and so 
they lose the blessing, like ould Timothy Tack, 
who spent sixpence to find thrupence," 

'' Love your neighbour, that is a command- 
ment; but ef you b'lieve in him he's sure to 
do 'ee ! " 

"Some people say, 'You can't believe a 
thing unless you can see and feel it ; ' but I say 
you can. Look 'ee now. Here's my hand — fowr 
fingers an' a thum'. Well, that's fact, edn't et ? 
Now then" (hiding his hand from view), "my 
hand has got fowr fingers an' a thum', but you 
can't see'm. Well, that's b'leef. Never say, 
then, you can't b'lieve what you can't see and 
feel." 

"When I was a boy, a man used to come 
round crying ^ Bellows to mend,' and the school- 
master our way put up a sign, ' Manners to mend.' 
Now, I think we might put up that sign in 
chapels where people come on Sundays trapesing 
in as though they were going by train, and 
quattin' down, and spittin' on th' floor, for oal th' 
world 'twas a tiddly-wink. Them's manners to 
mend, sure 'nuff, an' would be th' better for 
mendin', like Jakey Luney's britches, ragged 
behind." 

Sometimes the local brother's homily is very 



io6 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

pointed, but no offence is taken. The preacher 
is one of themselves, and they will take a lot from 
him in good part. If a stranger were to take the 
same liberty there would be trouble. Here is 
a specimen from an address spoken from the 
pulpit in the free-and-easy manner of every-day 
conversation. 

"You wean't get into heaven just because 
you've a pious mother or a pious father. Not 
for sure. Now, V\\ tell 'ee a story about a man 
who deceived moast everybody when he was in 
the flesh, and he liked chateing so much that he 
al'ys prayed loudest after he'd tooked in some- 
body — ^an' there's more like'n down along weth 
we now. We'll just give him a name, an' call 
him Jim Tresidder. He was on the *plan,' like 
me, and people said 'twas good to hear him hold 
forth, and I s'poase 'twas. Jim put a bold face 
upon it when he marched up to the golden gate, 
and rapped weth his knuckles upon the little 
shutter, till Peter looked out. ' Who ar'ee ? ' 
asks Peter. ' Doan't 'ee knaw me ? Why, I'm 
Jim Tresidder.' Then he tunied up a bit, and 
began to sing, * Heaven is my home. ' Now, 
Peter must have liked the look of Jim — he had 
sich a pious look weth un, for he stretched forth 
his hand for the key hanging over his head to 
open the gate weth. * I'm oal right now,' thinks 
Jim, singing louder and louder. ' Avoor I let 'ee 
in,' says Peter, ' I'll have a look at the book,' and 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 107 

he turned over the leaves till he came to the 
T's. * You'm Jim Tresidder of Trevalsa/ ses he. 
* Ess/ says Jim. * Then Fm sorry for 'ee/ says 
Peter, hanging up the key wance more. Then 
he showed Jim the book through the peep-hole, 
and when he seed oal the people he'd chated, and 
the evil he had caused, his heart sank into his 
shoes. Mil live in a dark corner, anywhere, if 
you'll only let me in. My poor mother is waiting 
for me. She was called Jane, an' was pious — 
now do 'ee lev me in, there's a dear man/ ses he, 
the great tears rolling down his chacks. ' Your 
mother is here weth the shining ones,' says Peter, 
' but you caan't come in because of she, no, fy, 
you caan't, for up here every fish do hang by his 
own gills. And you will hang too— on the 
outside.' " 

The county is honeycombed with dissent, and 
the fat of the land is labelled " Wesleyan." The 
beneficed clergy are beautifully housed, with 
gardens and stables, and all the appointments of 
gentlemen ; but the " livings " are not fat. Some 
country clergy take "paying guests," and some 
let their houses in the summer. The orthodox 
Wesleyan ministers are fairly well off, and live 
rent free ; and the others live as best they can, 
and get commissions on the sale of books and 
periodicals. One of the brethren left a record of 
thirty thousand teeth drawn during his professional 
career. As a rule, they "draw" well, and will 



io8 Cornish Saints and Sinners 



draw coin from the most unlikely places. A child 
having swallowed a piece of silver, the doctor, in 
despair, sent for the minister, saying the case was 
hopeless if he failed to get it. The coin was 
recovered.* 

There is a good deal of " religion " to be met 
with, and not so much need for Salvation Army 
music as in some places. There are certain times 
when people want to feel good, but they don't all 
feel the same way at the same time, which saves 
monotony. They say that at St. Agnes the people 
start being good when the cold weather sets in, 
and the feeling lasts until potato-planting time, 
and then, somehow, the good feeling sloughs off. 
I don't know what becomes of it, only it is put 
on one side for the next season, just like a boy 
puts on one side his bag of marbles and brings 
out tops. It's the same boy, but a new game. 
In the summer it's a struggle to be good any- 
where, there's so many fairs and feasts and frolics, 
and the young men and maidens are so fond of 
courting on the cliffs and downs. It's the custom 
of the country and suits well enough, so strangers 
may turn their heads on one side— it's none of 
their business. In the autumn the good feeling 
comes again and extends along the coast, espe- 
cially when the fishing is " slight." The young 
men get tired of the maidens about this time, and 

* An ex-President of the Wesleyan Conference told this story. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 109 

want to be good for evermore, and the want grows 
with the badness of the season. One sign of 
goodness in the country is thrift. The man who 
neither chews, nor smokes, nor drinks beer, and 
who never spends a copper without looking on 
both sides of it, is sure to be good. 

You always know when the good season is 
coming on by the people singing. They are 
pretty good, in spots, at singing, but the "gift," 
as they call it, is not universal. A gift is supposed 
to run in families, and a man with the voice of 
a crow will insist on singing because his great- 
grandfather once played the double bass in a 
church choir. There is a musical zone in the 
West, and the young women who work in the 
open air have very sweet voices. These are 
the "bal" maidens, and work on the dressing- 
floors of the mines. When the time comes round 
for them to feel good they " tuney up '* a bit, and 
take the young men who work underground along 
with them to the love-feasts and prayer-meetings 
in the little Bethels scattered all about the moors. 

They call themselves " Weslums " when they 
are not something ending in " ists " or " ite,'* and 
are bursting with goodness every Whit-Monday, 
just as sure as the day comes round. Why Whit- 
Monday more than any other day in the year 
would puzzle any one who did not know that on 
a certain day the cuckoo must sing. It's a sort of 
something which makes the bird sing, and it's a sort 



no Cornish Saints and Sinners 

of something which makes the '* Weslums " feel 
good on Whit- Monday, and draws them with 
invisible bands towards Gwennap Pit Whit- 
Monday is the anniversary of an occasion when 
John Wesley, the John Wesley, our John Wesley 
preached in the pit — not the pit as it is, but the 
pit as it was. 

John Wesley wouldn't know the pit, or the 
people who flock there now on Whit-Mondays, 
The old pit was an abandoned mine of no par- 
ticular shape, but inclined to be round, like a 
bowl warped in the firing. Then the miners 
came with pickaxe and shovel, and cut terraces 
against the land, and made the ring quite round, 
with its terraces rising one above another, until 
it became a sort of county monument to which 
the "Weslums** are drawn in their tens of 
thousands as to a shrine. John Wesley is a 
"Saint" in Cornwall, and all those who went 
before him have to take back seats ; and Whit- 
Monday, at the Pit, is now a sort of religious 
carnival, with picnic combined, at which Saint 
John would have shied when in the flesh, like 
good St. Anthony at a Pleasant Sunday After- 
noon, with fiddles and a ballet. When Wesley 
first came among the people they had an un- 
pleasant trick of throwing stones and turves at 
him, and hustling him out of one parish into 
another, and then out upon the downs, where he 
might live upon frosty turnips when there were 



Cornish Saints and Sinners in 



no blackberries. " Starring " in the country was 
not pleasant at times ; and cold, wet, and starving, 
the little-great man often had the appearance of 
a scarecrow riding upon a tough little nag as 
starved as himself. But he caught on, and 
emptied the cock-pit and wrestling ring, and 
provided entertainments wherein were mighty 
wrestlings with the invisible for immortal stakes. 
So he reached the natural cravings of a dramatic 
people for excitement and scenic change, and 
made them actors, with the blue heavens above, 
the earth trembling, and the hill-sides lined with 
living faces, wet and radiant Greater than he 
have tramped the county since, but conditions 
have altered, and only one Wesley is possible. 
And that is why people are drawn as to a shrine 
to Gwennap Pit, and the feeling comes upon 
them every Whit-Monday that they must go 
there, for there is a troubling of the waters then, 
and they may be healed. The old spirit of 
votive offerings survives in the land of saints and 
holy wells. 

The Cornish must have been a very well- 
meaning folk at one time, estimated by the 
number of churches which they built. They 
built little else, perhaps, but they did build good 
and substantial churches, mostly with square 
towers and four pinnacles, to be seen of men far 
and near. In the parish of Paul, near Penzance, 
the towers of fifteen parish churches may be 



112 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

counted from one spot, and, though not so thick 
everywhere, the minds of the people centred 
around the churches for more reasons than one. 
In the old days, when roads were few and 
detestably bad, people reckoned church towers 
as guides, and calculated distances from church 
tower to church tower. Every man who ventured 
far from home knew the church towers by sight 
and the bells by sound ; they were marks at sea as 
well, and mariners knew them and their bells as 
well as now they know bell-buoys and lighthouses 
upon the charts. A hamlet with a church became 
a *' town," so a man says he's going to Church- 
town, and still measures the distance between 
places by saying it is so far from one church 
tower to the other. 

Then came the little chapel, four-square and 
whitewashed, with plain glass windows, winking 
and blinking in the daytime, but a place of joy. 
Some people measure distances as from Bethel 
to Zion, and then no other question is needed on 
the point of worship. It's all there, when the 
chapel comes before the church. The day of 
bitterness is passing, but the preference comes 
out accidentally. 

Now there is a third building seen from far 
and seen everywhere, and that is the school which 
has been raised by the people with more hardship 
and self-denial than in the rest of the kingdom, 
because of the smallness of means, which often 



Garnish Saints and Sinners 113 

makes the dividing line with downright poverty 
very fine indeed. Only the thrift of the people 
would have enabled them to uprear schools finer 
in every respect than chapels, and first and fore- 
most amongst the buildings of the county. The 
schools rank next the churches, and are usually 
built where they may be seen. 

The parsons had to fight tooth and nail for 
their tithes of cows and calves and pigs and other 
things, and had to look sharp that butter and 
cheese were not palmed off on them as of like 
value. The Vicar of Zennor made a note in the 
parish register that three of his tithe-paying 
parishioners had planted butter and cheese in the 
chancel of the church, where he let it stay until 
it became too ripe for endurance, and then he 
ordered the churchwardens to remove it, which 
they did ; and the three smart farmers lost their 
produce, and the vicar got his tithe of living 
animals, after all. A vicar wanted knowledge 
not included in university curricula to make the 
two ends meet in a Cornish parfsh in the good 
old times. They have to struggle now to hold 
their own and make a bit, which some say they 
are doing, and some shake their heads, so one 
may think what he likes. 



Cha 



XIII 



HE Cornish are bom actors and 

actresses, but the natural talent 

is suppressed early, and it Is not 

considered respectable to do or 

say anything like a " play-actor." 

But the talent breaks bounds and 

shows itself even in the last moments of the aged, 

composing their features, so as to " look 'ansum " 

after death. 

The county has no theatre, no vaudeville, 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 115 

nothing in which to develop the dramatic instincts 
of a dramatic people. Now and again a travelling 
company, or piece of one^ gives a performance in 
a hall licensed for dramatic presentations ; but 
the people have become shy of being seen with 
uncovered faces at plays not labelled •'sacred." 
Susannah/with realistic touches, would be popular, 
if the Lord Chamberlain could see his way to 
license the performance. When away from home 
the people patronize theatres and music-halls, 
and, on their return, sing favourite hymns to 
comic opera. Dancing is prohibited in places, 
and is ** taboo '' even when winked at ; but some 
of the day schools are now teaching children how 
to use their feet and legs to music, under the 
head of "exercises" or "physical instruction.'' 
When an Italian organ-grinder comes into a 
village, the children dance as though they like 
it The Flora, or Flurry, dance has some claim 
to be Cornish, and in time may be danced well 
again in the open air at fairs and feasts. 

The Cornish are imaginative, vivacious, quick 
to realize situations. When there is any difficulty 
about words, a man or woman will get over it by 
acting the part Watch the men disputing, and 
you see unrehearsed comedy — and very good 
comedy in its way. The old Cornish were very 
fond of mysteries and miracle-plays, which were 
performed in the open, and for the love of the 
thing. If one may believe, tens of thousands of 



ii6 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

people used to tramp over the pathless downs to 
see a miracle-play, or a series of plays, performed 
in some natural amphitheatre. The plays speak 
for themselves. Some still exist, and we have 
only to fancy the tens of thousands standing and 
squatting around, gazing rapt and full-eyed upon 
the stage hour after hour, and then day by day, 
until the mysteries were finished for the season. 
Men, women, and children all " trapsed " to these 
plays, and, like the Japs of to-day, never left the 
scene as long as there was anything to see. The 
performances were realistic enough, and angels 
and devils took their parts in a manner to upset 
any respectable system of theology. The actors 
learned their parts, and the prompter, book in 
hand, followed the actors and told them what to 
say when they were at a loss. The prompter 
was known as the '^ ordinary," and on one 
occasion the ordinary, being a pleasant conceited 
gentleman, played * ' a merry prank " with a poor 
actor who was not well up in his part The 
story runs : "His turn came : quoth the ordinary, 
* Go forth, man, and show thyself/ The gentle- 
man steps out upon the stage, and, like a bad clerk 
in Scripture matters, cleaving more to the letter 
than the sense, pronounced those words aloud. 
' Oh,' says the fellow softly in his ear, * you 
mar all the play.' And with this his passion the 
actor makes the audience in like sort acquainted. 
Hereon the prompter falls to flat railing and 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 117 

cursing in the bitterest terms he could devise; 
which the gentleman with a set gesture and 
countenance still soberly related, until the 
ordinary, driven at last into mad rage, was fain 
to give all over ; which trousse, though it break 
off the interlude, yet defrauded not the beholders, 
but dismissed them with a great deal more sport 
and laughter than twenty such guaries could have 
afforded."* 

In former times, Midsummer Eve festivities 
were celebrated with much joyousness and danc- 
ing through the streets, and the lighting of 
bonfires at night, so that, seen from the sea, the 
coast-line showed a blaze of light. This was 
originally a pagan celebration of the summer 
solstice, and the Romish Church took it over and 
rechristened it, calling the rejoicing the festivals 
of St. John and St Peter. The Reformed Church 
took over the festivals as a legacy, and they 
lingered on in the land until dissent brought out 
their fire brigades and at last extinguished them. 
There is another "pagan" celebration which 
will not die. The public May-time rejoicings 
were nearly extinguished once, but are active 
again, and the good people of Helston dress up, 
and sing and dance from mom to night, because 
the spring has come again, and the land may 
once more be made beautiful with * flower and 

^ This is the only indigenous sti^e story in existence, and is 
preserved by Carew. 



ii8 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

corn. At one time the Church encouraged these 
public rejoicings, and gave them as much of a 
religious appearance as possible, but now there is 
nothing to suggest religion except the "collection" 
which the dancers make for their own benefit. 

When the Cornish language fell into disuse, 
fell also all prospect of a drama indigenous to a 
land of which one can never say how much is 
real. The sad autumn leaves fell upon the 
literary remembrances of the people when old 
Dolly Pentreath died, and as some one must 
have been the last to speak the language, as well 
Dolly as another, and better, perhaps, as we can 
see her portrait and her monolith. The old 
popular performances under the blue sky died 
out with the tongue, and then followed the 
travelling showman and the lady in tights and 
spangles, and then the old Christmas mummers 
with their diabolrie and three-men songs. The 
English drama in no form has any hold in the 
a)unty now, and even Shakespeare is caviare to 
the general. Only one Comishman made . his 
mark upon the stage, and of no great credit he, 
so we let him pass ; but the county is foster- 
mother to Sir Henry Irving, fittest of all men to 
have been a son, so well he " loved the fancies 
and legends of the people." * 

"There are comedies and tragedies with 

* When Sir Henry died, it was remembered that he whose soul 
was all Cornish, had never acted in the county. 



BOSCASTLE 



Cornish Saints arid Sinners 119 

scenes laid in Cornwall in plenty, but no Cornish 
drama or dramatist/' said the Bookworm. And 
yet there might have been. 

Tregeagle is the Cornish Faust. The story 
took a few centuries to develop, and there is 
nothing to be added now to heighten its dramatic 
effect Tregeagle was a young man of ambition, 
with a vein of discontent running through his 
composition. One day, when brooding over what 
he was, and what he would be, seeing all things 
in false perspective, Old Artful made his acquaint- 
ance, and there was the usual bai^ain, signed, 
sealed and delivered. " This is my act and 
deed," said Tregeagle, putting his finger on the 
red seal drawn from his own veins. Tregeagle 
was to live in airy-fairy palaces, and have the 
run of every man's preserves until such time as 
Old Artful choose, and then — well, what was 
left of his tissue-paper soul would be wanted in 
another place. Old Artful behaved in the hand- 
somest manner, and Mr. Tregeagle lived in a 
palace in up-to-date splendour, with men-servants 
and maid-servants, and every one took off his hat 
or curtsied as he passed, and he was as hard to 
the poor as a landlord's agent, and rode rough- 
shod over whom he would. In fact, he couldn't 
be a greater swell before the days of motors. All 
went gaily with him, until, one day, he consulted 
his diary and found that his lease under the 
contract had nearly expired, and then he became 



I20 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

*' hurried in his mind/' and lost appetite, and cast 
about to see if he could save himself, and pay no 
forfeit Now, Old Artful was a good judge of 
character and knew his man, so, when the time 
was up, he let the fairy palace, with all its 
beautiful gardens and stables and greenhouses, 
sink into the earth, and covered them over with 
water so deep that some said no plummet could 
find bottom. Having trapped his man so nicely. 
Old Artful was in good humour, and gave Treg- 
eagle a limpet*shell with a hole in it, and told him 
he might work out his redemption by emptying 
the lake ; for, said he, " you can't expect to have 
all the good things of this world without paying 
for them, either in money or marbles." Tregeagle 
looked at the limpet-shell, so small that a thimble- 
ful of water would overflow it, and then at the 
hole in the bottom, but he cared little for that as 
he could stop it up with his finger. It was a 
hopeless task, yet he was comforted by the 
thought that in the matter of the hole, by stopping 
it with his finger, he would score one off Old 
Artful. Then he commenced baling the water 
from the lake ; and when he would rest. Old 
Artful's imps spurred him on and on until he 
shrieked and roared, so that all the people round 
about him shook in their shoes. '' To roar like 
Tregeagle," became a saying when one was 
groaning under deserved punishment. The un- 
happy man is still working at his task, and it is 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 121 

said there is not so much water in the lake as 
aforetime. 

" Then Old Artful will have outwitted himself 
after all, for he gave the fellow a task intended 
to be endless/' said Guy. 

"There is hope; and that is where the 
Cornish story differs from many variations of 
Faust," said the Bookworm. 

''I like the Cornish all the better for that/' 
said Guy. 



Chapter XIV 



IE always removed our hats before 
entering a church : it is the custom 
of the country, and we were with- 
out prejudices. If we saw a 
clei^man wondering at the rapid 
growth of nettles and docks and 
wild heliotrope over his little freehold, we took 
off our hats to him. I don't mention this in a 
vain-glorious spirit, only once or twice we were 
looked on with suspicion, and shown dirty finger- 
marks upon walls, and scratches made with knives 
upon monuments, and detestable rhymes scribbled 
in pencil, where they could be seen. We were 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 123 

shown some writing which was discovered pinned 
to the altar after a strange '^ gentleman and lady '^ 
had made the round of the church, and gone 
away. The verger apologized when showing us 
the writing, which he did only in order to justify 
his looking upon us with some degree of suspicion. 
We felt sorry for the "lady and gentleman," and 
they might have been sorry for themselves, if we 
could have talked to them for a few minutes in a 
convenient place. 

The vicar came in and insisted on showing 
us his "treasures." They were not many, and 
we wished them more, for his sake, he was so 
anxious to make us forget having been told that 
a "gentleman" with a soft cap, and a "lady" 
with no cap at all, should have been guilty of 
pinning an indecent writing to God's altar. He 
pitied them ; and Guy felt that he would like to 
have the chance of pitying the gentleman with 
the soft cap after a strictly private interview. 

The vicar tapped the Bookworm, and would 
have us stay to luncheon. They exchanged 
views, and talked book catalogues, and dry goods 
like that. We got out into the grounds, which 
were a little paradise. Something from all quarters 
of the world grew there, and in the open, too — 
nothing to hurt them, winter or summer, in this 
charming place. We got away from books and 
dry stuff at last, and found that our genial vicar 
could talk other things. 



124 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

** The 6ien entente, or entente coraiale, or what- 
ever you like to call it, which startled Europe, is 
so old a thing amongst us, that we were set 
laughing when told of the new discovery — the 
diplomatic radium of the hour/' said the vicar, 
laughing. 

"I thought you Cornish were very alarmed 
at French invasions, and hated Frenchmen like 
the lost archangel holy water. What were the 
popular stories with which you sent children 
sobbing to bed, about the Great Napoleon?'' 
asked the Bookworm. 

''Stories innumerable, and they served a 
purpose. A thousand such stories might be in- 
vented to-morrow, and some would be believed, 
with a German, a Russian, or a yellow bug-a-boo 
for figurehead. But, let me tell you, there has 
always been a link between England and France, 
and that is the Cornu- Breton link. Cornish boats 
were often safe in French harbours when Napoleon 
was fitting out his great Armada, and Nelson 
driving Frenchmen from the seas. We wanted 
brandy and silks, and the French merchants 
wanted money, so the bien entente was all serene. 
Then we wanted salt for curing, and there was 
nothing more common in our harbours than French 
chasse-maries laden with sea-salt ; and who more 
popular than the Breton sailor in a Cornish port, 
in blue blouse and sabots, and pockets stuffed full 
of prunes, which he shook out as he walked, 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 125 

followed by a queue of children singing, * How 
do you do, Johnny Crapaud ? ' And then, most 
touching, when Frenchy and the little mousse, trust- 
ing themselves alone in Cornish lanes, gathered 
bucketfuls of esculent snails for soup. The bien 
entente was all right still, though there were wars 
and rumours of wars. The Cornu-Breton link 
held fast when Cornwall raised its volunteers 
when Napoleon the Third sent a thrill of fear 
through the land, when Fashoda was a burning 
word, and when the Paris journals made the 
English blood boil during the Boer war. And 
what was the Cornu-Breton link ? " 

The vicar paused, and then added : " The link 
is here. It is knocking at my gate." 

There was a chubby-faced youngster at the 
back door, in blue smock and knitted cap, bending 
under the weight of the onions he was carrying 
suspended from a pole on his shoulder. 

"This is the Cornu-Breton link — onions fol- 
lowed salt, and salt brandy. These chubby-faced 
boys invade us every year and 'dump* all the 
spare onions they grow in their little gardens at 
home. It is their harvest, and the brave little 
hearts, trudging in a strange land, with raw 
shoulders, are welcomed everywhere, whatever 
the party passions of the houn It is a small link, 
but it is steeli and when London and Paris were 
drinking champagne to the new sensation, we 
were buying our onions of our little Breton friends. 



126 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

- - — 

giving them milk to drink, and sharing pasties, 
and giving them ointments with which to rub 
their poor little raw shoulders, and then resting 
them in barns so that they might be up and off 
with sunrise to sell their onions." 

The vicar beckoned to the boy, who came 
and told us of his home at Paimpol ; this was his 
second season here, and next year he would not 
come because he was conscript, and would serve 
on board a man-of-war. His eyes glistened when 
he talked of meeting British ships, and the Cornish 
bluejackets who knew him as a little onion boy. 
And they would be friends I 

Guy tipped the boy when no one was looking, 
and so did his best to keep the Cornu-Breton link 
intact 

I do believe the good vicar was sorry when 
we went. 

♦ ♦ ♦ if. if, 

The people are not given to *' hustle ; '* if the 
word has reached the county, the thing hasn't in 
any great quantity. There is still a blessed refuge 
in the world for men and women tired of " hustle '* 
in all its moods and tenses. Being on time at a 
railway station is genuine distress to natives until 
they get used to it, and the language is not strong 
in equivalents for "hustle." To make moderate 
haste is to " hurry-all," to be in a genuine hurry 
is to be " stark-staring-mad." The idea of smooth- 
ness resulting from leisure suits the Cornish genius 






MEVAGISSEY. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 127 

at home, and he has a pleasing word for it in 
"suant" When everything is as "suant as oil," 
it is perfection itself. *'Who carries the broth 
must go suant," gives the idea of abundance of 
time in which to perform an errand without mis- 
hap. To be too slow for anything is only to be 
** asleep" — there is no anger in the reproach, just 
a gentle reminder, that is all. Anything mouldy 
and vinewed is said to be "sleeping" — in a 
delicious state of rest which it would be a pity 
to disturb. A Cornishman only does one job at 
a time; when he talks he rests from all other 
work, 

Guy said he must have his hair cut ; the Book- 
worm might please himself ; it might suit his style 
of beauty to be mistaken for an ancient bard. 
The first town we came to we looked out for the 
striped pole, and there was one outside a tobacco 
shop. It was afternoon when we entered the 
shop with a partition running through it, so one 
half was sacred to the " weed," and the other half 
to the performance of ancient rites. A green 
curtain divided the double shop from the rear. 
The shop was empty, but the curtain was half 
drawn, and we saw a man polishing his boots. 
This was the barber, who finished his job, and 
met us, smiling. Guy induced the Bookworm to 
take the chair first, because his hair being darker 
would not show the illustrative finger-marks so 
clearly as his own. Guy talked to the barber 



128 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

about boot-polish, and so interested him that he 
stopped operations and talked. A man came in 
and propped up the partition with a shoulder, and 
Mr. Figaro left his job and served a packet of 
cigarettes. Then the new-comer began a story 
about one Billy Tregarne who, falling down a 
clay-pit, was mistaken for the miller by his own 
wife, who turned him to doors with much abuse 
and a ''scat in the chacks." It was all very 
interesting, but took time, and the Bookworm 
was only half trimmed. The new-comer suddenly 
remembered that he had left his shop open with 
no one to '' mind " it, and walked away as leisurely 
as he came. Then Mr. Figaro worked away, 
only stopping occasionally to enjoy an inward 
chuckle ; and when Guy went off without being 
operated on, he seemed quite glad at having no 
more to do just then. 

In towns, tradesmen spend a good deal of 
time in their shop doors, looking '' up-along ** and 
'* down-along,'' or across the street, and hold con- 
versations with each other in their several shop 
doors. 

The inhabitants live long and die leisurely. 
When one is a trifle over-anxious people tell him 
not to worry, for "you'll live till you die, like 
Nicketty Booth." 

The man in the highway never misses a 
chance for a gossip^ and will give old nuts for 
news, to any extent. 



,gUitmki^mam^^m^mmmmimaBt^^^ 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 129 

*' Holloa I my man ; which is the way to 
Church-town ? " Guy shouted to a labourer, who 
seemed to be doing his best to prop up a hedge. 

The man struck work at once and came 
forward leisurely. He eyed us up and down, 
making a mental register of our marks. Then 
he seemed to take an interest in us and our 
business. 

" Going Church-town, art a ? " 

*' Yes, and which is the way ? '* 

" Want to see Farmer ? Well, then, a ed'n 
home. Farmer had fine field of wheat in ten- 
acre field, sure 'nuff, and he's gone to market. 
He was drashing yesterday, and the drashing 
machine cut off Tom Curnow's fingers. Ess 
sure, 'e ded.'* 

*' We don't want Farmer," said Guy, cutting in. 

"Well, then, Tom Trebilcock ? Tom's cow 
calved last week, and she's a good milker. Didn't 
know Tom was going to sell." 

" Never mind Tom ; tell us the road, the way, 
the what-you-like-to-call-it, to Church-town." 

" There's passun's house close by the church, 
and passun's little mare is a good un to travel. 
They do say " 

" How do we get there ? " 

" Ef so be you'm in a hurry you need'n go, 
cos Farmer's drivin' mare to market" 

"We'd like to get there in daylight/' said 
Guy, gravely. 



130 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

** Sartinly ; ** and then the man gathered him- 
self together for a supreme effort. " You do go 
through meadow-dose, and plain-dose, and then 
into high-lane, and voUy on, an' there you be, 
sure." 

" But where is meadow-dose ? ** 

" Oh, back along." 

"But where?" 

" Back along to stile." 

** Thanks very much, my good man, and may 
your shadow never grow less." 

We left the man apparently wondering what 
sort of animals there were at large who didn't 
know the way to Church-town. Gradually he 
unbent himself, and went back to prop up the 
hedge. 

In conversation a good deal of ground is 
covered in a non-committal sort of way by illus- 
trations well understood by the parties, but 
Greek to any stranger. A worthy person who 
does mischief with the best intentions is said to 
be like " Aunt Grade's vear " — which means that 
the little pig, with the best intentions in the 
world, sucked the old sow to death. Few would 
suspect that " Betsy Bowden's leg " tells a tragedy, 
but it does : — 

*^ Old age and sorrows did she decay, 
And her bad leg carried she away.*' 

To have " Betsy Bowden's leg " is a very 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 131 



serious matter to those who understand what it 
means. 

** It's as well to leave high English at home," 
said the local doctor, whom Guy picked up in his 
rambles. " I was asked by a woman on leaving 
the house of a patient the other day what the 
matter was ? and, in a moment of forgetfulness, 
I said it was a case of ' strangulated hernia.' * My 
dear life!' said the woman, opening her eyes 
wide, 'that's a very different story to what I 
heard.' *And what did you hear?' *Why, I 
heard that the man had a kink in his innards.' 
We meant the same thing; but you must live 
amongst people really to understand and be 
understood." 

Sometimes a humorous situation is created, 
and the incident lives. An officer inspecting 
volunteers wished to dismiss them. ''Stand at 
ease 1 Attention 1 Disperse 1 " The men stood 
still with wonder in their eyes. " Disperse 1" 
repeated the officer, and still the men stood still. 
The sergeant saluted. " May I give the order ? " 
"Certainly." Then the sergeant: "Stand at 
ease 1 Attention I Scat up i " And every man 
went his way, and the corps are the " Scat-ups " 
to this day. 

A coas^ard told us the story of a young 
officer of the kid-glove type giving an order to the 
men in the maintop. " Maintop, ahoy I " " Aye, 
aye, sir." " Extinguish the illuminator." " No 



132 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

such rope, sir." Then the boatswain : '^ Maintop, 
ahoy I " " Aye, aye, sin" " Douse the glim." 
Light goes out. 

A bargain is dear to the soul of a Cornish- 
man; only send round the crier with the bell, 
announcing a sale, and he'll be there, and pay 
cheerfully more than the things are worth, if only 
he's told that he's getting a bargain. To get 
something for next to nothing is to be happy. 
A man will walk two miles to ride one, and build 
his house out of shape rather than remove a bit 
of rock which can be worked into the wall. 
Much ingenuity is shown in using up odds and 
ends of things. A sailor will tell you that any 
man can make a sail if he has plenty of canvas 
to cut from, but the man for his money is the 
man who " makes do what won't do/' To throw 
anything on the scrap-heap as long as there's wear 
or use in it, would make an average man turn 
green, and wish for the better land. He's thrifty 
in the wrong place, and can't help it ; but once 
get him away from home and he develops and 
does well, as times go. We were told that 
Bryant, of blacking and match fame, and Pears, 
of soap fame, are not only Cornish, but hail from 
neighbouring parishes; and Ralph Allen, the 
lucky, was born at St Blazey. Ralph was a man 
of many parts. He brought some order and 
method into our country mail services, ran the 
Bath theatre, married a beautiful wife, and made 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 133 

;^i 6,000 a year out of a Government contract 
Once outside the charmed circle of his native 
land, a Cornishman gets on just as well as a 
Scotchman, and is as thrifty as need be. 

There is an ingrained dislike amongst the 
Cornish towards mean-looking things, and things 
ugly or deformed. A well set-up man^ with head 
thrown back defiantly, and arms swinging, is for- 
given much on account of his appearance of 
strength and general can-take-care-of-myselfness. 
A weak-looking man with a mean face must walk 
warily if he's to get credit at all for the good that 
is actually in him. An elegant woman, well- 
dressed, is immaculate; and a woman with an 
eye generous and passionate has her sins con- 
doned almost before they are committed. But 
let a woman squint and be anaemic, short in nose, 
and long in chin, a bit '^hunchy" and out of 
shape, and goodness becomes an added offence 
to her sin of living. "A poor, wakely thing," 
and ''a wisht, old-fashioned maid,'' are offences 
to the community, and are willingly parted with. 
Downright ugliness in man or woman is looked 
on as the devil's hall-mark ; — '' mark you the man 
whom nature marks," is a proverb. The first 
question asked about a stranger is, what does he, 
or she, look like ? A great deal depends on the 
answer — a good-looking and fair-spoken person 
may travel far and suffer no hunger in the land. 
The devil is sin, and sin the father of ugliness, 



134 Gornish Saints and Sinners 

hence an ugly person has the devil for father, 
and is treated accordingly. 

The Cornish are a very hopeful race. Bad 
times depress, but there is always to-morrow to 
look forward to, and to-morrow may be better 
than to-day. Without this bank of hope to draw 
upon, the two main industries of the county, 
mining and fishing, would have caved in long, 
long ago. Contentment is another sign by which 
you may know the Comishman at home. If a 
man meets with misfortune, or a friend has gone 
under, he sums it all up by saying, " Well, there 
'tis.*' The phrase " there 'tis," is like a plaister 
of figs covering a sore, hiding much, but giving 
rise to hope that a healing process may be 
going on. 

"How be gettin* on, Jim, without the ould 
woman ? " asks a man of his fellow who has 
buried his wife. " Slight, sure 'nuff, at first, but 
there 'tis ; '' and then he goes on about his work, 
as though the last word was said upon the matter. 
Equally content is another aged pilgrim who has 
lost the partner of his joys. " Do 'ee miss her, 
Bill.>'' "Ess, sure." " Lonely, s'poase ? " "Ess, 
tes lonely, but tes quiet." Bill was content 
" When the cyder is rinned away every drap, 'tis 
too late to be thinkene of plugging the tap," is 
a little bit of old proverbial philosophy which 
escaped Martin Tupper. The same spirit is in 
the words, ' ' Well, there 'tis," whether the cyder 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 135 



cask runs dry, or a mine is '' knocked/' or a ship 
is wrecked, or a pitcher is broken. *' Well, there 
'tis,'' says the victim, with the beautiful serenity 
of fatalism. " There 'tis," and hope springs up 
amongst the ruins of shattered hopes, and the 
Comishman goes on his way again, trundling his 
own wheelbarrow, without appealing to the 
heavens and the earth and all that therein is to 
listen to his misfortunes. When he has a stroke 
of good luck he's very quiet about it 

"I knaw he 'ave a chate somebody, he's so 
quiet," one man will say of another on a market 
day. 



Chapter XV 



lICKLE a Cornishman, and he'll 
smile. He likes it ; and when 
I you have rested, begin again, 
and he'll still smile. Some people 
want different handling, like 
Kaffirs in mines, who only smile 
nicely after being knocked down with a crowbar. 
" Going ! And I'm just beginning to like 'ee," is 
a common form of regret towards a civil-tongued 
stranger who has found out the way to tickle. 
Cornishmen abroad tickle one another at their 
annual dinners, when all that's fair and lovely to 
the sight " belongs " to the land of pasties and 
cream. 

136 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 137 

There are some dialects which make people 
restless, and some which make people tearful, 
and some to want to go to theatres and operas, 
and some to churches, and some — well, elsewhere. 
An Irish M.P., on the wrongs of Ireland, is sure 
to make you tearful ; and a Scotchman, mellow, 
is certain to cry himself when eloquent on Bobby 
Bums; but the ordinary Englishman is not 
moved to tears by ordinary English. His lan- 
guage is very good for getting about with in 
trains and tramcars, and finding out the prices of 
things, and making profits from the Equator to 
the Pole. A hard-hearted sort of a language, 
that wants filing and sand-papering a bit to reach 
the heart — like French, just by way of making 
a comparison, which will not be odious now the 
bien entente is on the carpet 

One should come into the duchy to hear how 
the English language may acquire a languorous 
ease, which makes one want to sit still at the 
first milestone, and never to go any further. At 
first, Guy wanted everything "sharp" — ^boots 
"sharp," breakfast "sharp," everything to the 
minute, and every one on the alert. The Cornish 
constitution wasn't made to work that way in 
Cornish air. A woman was selling fruit at a 
street corner, and Guy bought some. A small 
boy was sent to change a coin, and Guy grew 
tired and impatient of waiting. Then he mur- 
mured, and talked of calling again at Christmas, 



138 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

if the boy was likely to be back by then. The 
woman was sweetly placid, and asked Guy if he 
was in a hurry? Guy said he wasn't suffering 
from that complaint, only he liked to see boys 
smart, and things done quickly, and so help the 
world to spin. 

'' I hate to be kept waiting/' said he. 

'Mt doan't sim long to we/' said the woman, 
counting the coppers slowly, one by one, into 
Guy's impatient palm, when the boy did return. 

It doesn't seem long to the native to *' quat," 
and listen to another telling a yam of endless 
length which might all be packed into a sixpenny 
" wire." The stranger has to get rid of irritable 
impatience before the restful influences of the 
words, and the manner of speaking them, lay hold 
of him ; and when they do he is in a peaceful 
oasis. A bustling commercial man never dreams 
of opening his samples until he's inquired about 
all the family, down to the third generation ; and 
in villages he has to remember that his customer's 
cow was bad last journey, that his black minorca 
hen hatched out fifteen eggs, and that the rats 
carried away ten in a single night. Then he has 
to see the missus, and talk babies, and corns, and 
indigestion ; and then, when no one is looking, 
he undoes his samples, and business is introduced 
as though by accident. 

Who can be in a hurry when he finds that to 
get to a place three or four miles away he must 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 139 

take the road to Trevalsamin, then cross the 
town place at Ponsandain, which brings you to 
the stile at Hallywiden, leave Ventongimps to 
the right, and the church-town of Trevespanvean 
will come in view, then down by Trebarva well, 
and you will reach your destination? Imagine 
this direction given in a zigzag fashion, with 
comments and sketches of scenery thrown in, and 
the story of a man who tackled a bull down by 
Trannack-Treneer bottom, and was carried home 

on a gate, and then lived . You can't get 

away from the man until a sense of peace has 
fallen upon you ; and you don't care if you take 
the journey now, or put it off until to-morrow. 

The old people who invented these names 
were in no humour for hurry, and names are as 
thick as blackberries, for every field, and brake, 
and bottom has its own particular name, which 
is always repeated in full in conversation, no odds 
how often it occurs. A farmer knows his fields 
by their names, just as he knows his children by 
theirs. The English language shows its restful 
side in Cornwall. 

Since our first parents were turned out of 
Eden, there has been no paradise for children 
more perfect than Cornwall. We didn't know it 
until we were told so by an old man hobbling 
along by the side of a donkey with panniers on 
its back, and in the panniers fresh fish to sell in 
the villages through which we were to pass. The 



140 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

old man was in trouble on account of the school 
children jumping on his donkey's back, and 
riding off at their own sweet wills. Then a boat 
came in with a little '' cate ** of fish, which the 
old man bought to sell to country, but nowhere 
could the donkey be found. Then he went 
about seeking, until, at last, he ran the animal to 
earth in a quarry in a brake, where the ichildren 
had hidden it in order to ride back again in 
triumph after school. This was the old man's 
grievance, and he called heaven and earth to 
witness that there was no place under the sun 
where the rising generation better deserved 
hanging than in this parish ; or where parents 
more deserved hanging for bringing up such 
varmints. 

Guy tried his hand at a little friendly exami- 
nation, and we learnt that things were different 
when the old man was young; when his very 
own father would have thought no more of cutting 
him down with a shovel, or stretching him stiff 
with a hammer, if he went leastways contrary, 
than he would have of eating a pasty. Well, if he 
did not like it he had to put up with it, like the 
rest, and it taught him how children ought to be 
trained. But now 

The old man was too full of words to speak 
for a time, but a passage cleared itself, and then 
we found it was all the fault of the school, and 
the rates, that children were varmints, and ought 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 141 

to be nailed up to barn doors, like weasels and 
wants, and sich-like. '' Lay a finger upon a cheeld 
now, and the wimmen'U screech murder, marbleu I 
just as ef the French was coming. An' th' men's 
no better, tes oal, * Coom here, Johnny, my son, 
an' plaise doan'ee break th' cloam, an' plaise 
doan'ee make a malkin ov yersel'; an' plaise 
doan'ee stale Tom Cobbledick's jackass, and 
hide'n away, when he do waant to go to country 
weth vish.' I'd 'plaise' em, th' varmints; I'd 
scat th' brains ov'm out ! " 

The old man told us frankly that the maidens 
were a tarnation sight worse than the boys under 
the new order of things. They didn't steal 
away his donkey, but they were the cause of 
quarrels among the women, and the women egged 
on the men, until there was neither rest nor 
peace in the parish. "There's that maid of 
Nancy GoUe/s," said he, " an' you'd s'poase she 
was the quietest maid in the country to see her 
on a Sunday, with a feather in her hat a yard long, 
and oal the fashions on her back. An' so she es 
quiet till she do see another maid come down 
along weth something on her back which she 
thinks would suit her beauty better. Then what 
do she do but go over to the other maid, oal 
artful-like, an' begin to purr round, and find out 
what it cost, and what tallyman her mother got 
it from ; and then she rounds and says, ted'n paid 
for, and she ought to be ashamed to wear it. 



142 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

when her old granny is eating parish bread. 
Then the two wimmen begin upon their own 
account, and rip up each other, an' set th' men 
on ; and the/d have killed one t'other, only the 
parish com'd in and tooked sides, and font till 
they cud'n blaw nor strike. And this trubble oal 
becase the maidens were dressed up, and sent 
to school to learn bukes, instead of goin' to work, 
rd giv' it to th' varmints, ess, sure I wud," said 
he, with a sing-song drawl, but all his ill-temper 
gone. 

The old man turned down a by-lane to sell a 
fish at a farmhouse, first telling us how to find 
Church-town and Mrs. Tregarthen's inn, where 
there was ."a drap of good beer" on tap, and 
we could pay for a pint for him to drink when 
he came along. 

Guy said it was refreshing to hear higher 
criticism of this sort ; and wondered what the 
Education Department would think did they but 
know what a man of the soil thought of their 
strenuous efforts to spoil the rod and teach the 
*' varmints" to have it their own way? The 
Bookworm wouldn't be provoked into saying 
anything, and so we reached the inn, and found a 
very good larder there. 

There was a pleasant hum of talk outside the 
inn, where a knot of young miners were chatting 
over what concerned them most. The comer of 
the building seemed to be the favourite spot in 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 143 

the whole village, and the young men took turns 
to scratch themselves between the shoulders 
against the comer-stones. It soothed them, and 
when they'd all scratched in turns, they did a sort 
of jig with heel and toe, kicking the Wall with the 
heels of their boots. They never came inside ; 
and this was their way of showing that they had 
no animosity to the institutions of their country. 
Our window was open, and Guy said this would 
be a good opportunity for studying the language 
of the district " When people are together they 
talk it pure,'' said he, arousing the Bookworm's 
attention. 

Picking up a dialect in this way is not so easy ; 
everybody seems talking at once, and there's no 
full-stops, and the commas, when there are any, 
seem to be in the wrong places. After a time, 
we captured a few syllables, and the Bookworm 
wrote down phonetically a conversation with two 
voices only — 

** Say-yu, whatkoorarta ?" 

" Laastkoor b'nite." 

" Adumedkoorthat" 

We all heard it, and there was no doubt about 
the sounds ; every shorthand writer would be sure 
on that point. Then we called in Mrs. Tregar- 
then's husband and read over the transcript, and 
he said it was all right, and we might take away 
as much of the dialect as we pleased in the same 
way. He spoke slowly, and it came out like this — 



144 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

" Say you, what coor art thou ? " 

" Last coor by night." 

*' A durned coor that." 

A " coor " is a turn, or shift, in mine work, and 
the last shift by night is not popular. Guy asked 
the Bookworm how long he thought it would take 
him to pick up the dialect ? and suggested leaving 
him behind, and calling for him later. The Book- 
worm was used to this sort of thing from Guy. 

We picked up a dialect story, and preserved a 
sentence or two, warranted to be genuine. 

"Giv* me a kiss, me aul* dear," said Phil 
Pentreath, fisherman, just home from a cruise, 
throwing his arms around his wife, who has got 
herself up for the occasion, and does not want to 
be rumpled. She flushes, and is in a great rage, 
but can't get over the ground quicker than this — 

** Taake yer baastlie wristeses awah fr'm me 
neck, you stinken', ravishen' aythen ! Lemmego I 
I waan't kiss 'ee, and you oall auver stinken' grease- 
oil an' tar. My sawl an' bawdee ! I shud be fitty 
parfit ashaamed, ef I was you, kissen' your wife in 
broad daalight, an' daown-steers, too." An East 
End girl would cut half across London in the 
time. 

Cornish maids don't like cool lovers, and you 
may kiss early and often, and be thought none 
the worse of by the maid you are sweet on. If 
nothing comes of it the kissing part will be all 
right, and can be wiped out, or carried forward, at 



TWO COTTAGES, MEGAVISBKY, 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 145 

pleasure. Kissing is a mode of salutation in some 
districts where the population is stationary and all 
the families somehow connected, and a strange 
kiss is welcome as varying the flavour. It is a 
sign of religious communion among the Methodists 
— ^the old people enjoy it at their love-feasts, and 
the young take kindly to the godly example. 
There is no such county on earth for " kiss-in-the- 
ring " at teas and picnics — old and young, rich and 
poor, pastors and flock, run after one another, 
chasing and doubling and tumbling, and then 
''smack, smack," and the captives are led back 
with eyes sparkling and lips watering for more 
runs and more kisses. Pious elders see their 
young ministers dashing after the maidens, lifting 
up their chins, and kissing them on the lips, and 
holding them in tight embrace the while, and they 
just nod to one another and smile, as who should 
say, '' Bless the dear Iambs, lev 'em enjoy them- 
selves while they'm young.'' But only say 
'' dance," and the dear old faces are troubled with 
visions of the " pit " yawning beneath their feet 
There are different ways of kissing in different 
parishes, so a young man may tell in the dark 
what parish a girl comes from by the way she 
acts, if only he has had sufficient practice. It all 
comes to the same thing, though the maidens 
think themselves slighted if not kissed often 
enough. As a rule they get on very well. 

The common furze which blooms perpetually 



146 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

has, on that account, got mixed up with kissing ; 
and when a girl is asked, " When is kissing out of 
season ? " her ready answer is, " When the furze 
is out of bloom ; " that is to say, never. The rich 
chrome yellow is very seductive, but the thorns ! 
In the south, when a maid is disappointed in 
love she takes to her bed, and is waited upon by the 
rest of the family, just as though she were passing 
through a sickness known to the pharmacopaeia. 
It is a matter of public interest ; and the maid 
is said to be '^wisht" about it, and going into 
a *' decline.'* Generally, it comes all right again, 
and the maid gets up and walks out with her 
young man, and receives the congratulations of 
the parish. Then things are hurried up, and the 
end comes. 




Chapter XVI 




T/IHE girls learn early that "it is not 
good for man to live alone," and 
never foig;et it. It is the one 
text that sticks, and they make 
the running early for the boys, 
who are a shy and awkward lot, 
and want encouragement at first Then the bojrs 
wake up, and the girls catch them, as they in- 
tended to do when they first started ; and the 
boys grow into men, and are never "alone" any 
more. Marriages may be made in heaven for 
other folks, but the Cornish maidens like them 
better on earth, and please themselves pretty 
much in the matter. Misfits will happen 



148 Cornish Saints and Sinners 



sometimes, but they have a nice, soft, easy way 
of their own, and slip through life ''as well as 
moast, and better' n some/' 

The women make very good wives, and seldom 
become acquainted with the learned president of 
the Divorce Court ; and if they don't believe the 
men are '* saints," they wink the other eye and 
say little. A country-woman, tired of her bargain, 
inquired of a solicitor where she could get a bottle 
of the " drops " for the dissolution of her marriage, 
apparently thinking that nothing weaker than legal 
aquafortis, or Dutch drops, would be any good to 
dissolve the bond. Very few Cornish women have 
figured in the Divorce Court, which stands to 
their credit, so many being the wives of sailors 
at sea nine months out of the year, or of miners 
in foreign lands, whom they may not see for years 
after a brief honeymoon. In the Cornish version 
of the old mystery play of the Deluge, willing 
obedience to the husband is shown in the dialogue 
between Noah and his spouse. Noah says it is 
time to get into the ark, and the lady says, '' Oh, 
master dear! I will do everything like as thou 
wishest." In the Chester play on the same sub- 
ject the wife of Noah is a perverse, wilful, pas- 
sionate woman, who will not go into the ark 
unless every one of her " gossipes " go with her. 
And when her sons get her in by superior force, 
she gives poor Noah a slap in the face, saying, 
" Have that for thy note ! " The unknown 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 149 



Cornish translator changed the note to suit his 
audience. A married woman makes the best of 
her bargain, and finds " Oh, master dear ! '' better 
than fisticuffs. 



NOTICE. 



ALL WHO WANT 
A HAPPY HOME, 
TRY CORNWALL. 



The women take a pride in doing little things 
for their husbands — ^polishing their Sunday boots, 
brushing and putting away their clothes, and 
turning them out spick-and-span, like dandies. 
A man isn't allowed to look after anything but 
hjs sea-boots and oileys, if he's a fisher ; or his 
working togs, if some other trade. When there 
are girls in a family the boys are ^* tended " like 
little princes ; and when the girls marry they look 
after their husbands so carefully that they seldom 
stray far away. Ladies who write social conun- 
drums to the newspapers, and ask how it is that 
they only get a bit of their husbands, and that 
bit not worth the having, should live in a Cornish 
village for a season, and keep their eyes open. 
Not very exciting, to be sure, but, if all is true, 



150 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

worth the experiment. The beautiful influence 
of climate comes in, ^'and so it is ; and you must 
put up with it, my dear,*^ is the grease-box which 
makes the wheels run smoothly. 

The women keep shop in the small towns 
and villages whilst the men go to sea, or fishing, 
or whatever work they profess to do. A bell 
tinkles when you open the door, and, by-and-by, 
the missus comes into view, wiping her hands on 
her apron. She may have what's wanted, but 
generally she's "run out," and is expecting it 
within a week or so. She goes on wiping her 
hands, and looks as contented as though she had 
sold something. Then the little shops look like 
a dry-goods store after an earthquake, and if the 
thing wanted isn't on top it is not much good 
looking for it.* It's just their way, and the 
business flourishes like a plant in native soil. 
Sometimes the post-oflice is mixed up with the 
*' business," and a dear little cherub sits up aloft 
somewhere and watches over the property of the 
Postmaster-General. Letters and parcels muddle 
through, somehow, which is proof positive that 
the age of miracles \s not over and done with. 

For the spectator a wedding is a very dull 

* An enterprising huckster exhibited the following signboard : — 

BIBLES. BELLOWS AND BOOTS. GODLY 
BUKES AND GRINDING STONES. TROUSERS. 
TESTAMENTS. AND TEA KITTLES. EVERYTHING 
BOUGHT AND SOLD HERE EXCEPT TREACLE. ^ 
BEST PRICE GIVEN FOR WHALEBONE STAZE - 

By I. W. NiKNis. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 151 

and slow afikir now, even in out-of-the-way dis- 
tricts and in the fishing coves and villages, where 
the old customs have struggled hard to live. 
Young people are married all the same, but 
much of the joy at the life that is to be has been 
gradually elbowed out of the ceremony, and all 
that belongs to it. It used to be a very different 
sort of thing when the people were more prone 
to dancing and fiddling and feasting, and only 
half enjoyed a thing unless all their world enjoyed 
with them. The Bookworm chanced on some 
faded letters describing some of the merry-makings 
not more than a century ago, when a wedding 
was an event, not for John and Mary merely, but 
for the whole parish. The fiddler skipped before 
the happy pair to church, and every one, not in 
the procession with wedding favours, lined up, 
and made nice little speeches, as the spirit moved 
them; and the spirit moved them so often that 
the bride had few blushes to spare when she 
reached the chancel steps. And then the feast 
and dance and mystic rites, concluding with the 
bedding of the bride. Then more dancing for 
the guests ; and more young couples vowed that 
day to marry within the year than on any other 
occasion. It was a "quiet" wedding which 
finished up with a three days' rejoicing. 

If John and Mary lived on a farm, or were 
servants at the " big house,'* then there were high 
jinks in the great kitchen and squire's hall, and 



152 Cornish Saints and Sinnei^s 

no one merrier than parson and clerk, who led 
the revels with voice and flute, and the school- 
master brought his fiddle, if he had one. A 
wedding was a very human affair, and everybod/s 
business, not so very long ago. In the fishing 
villages there was more colour and boisterous 
mirth than elsewhere, for the men dressed their 
boats, and made sport, and sang and danced, and 
got drunk and sober, and then drunk again, until 
the mom broke. And the next day, and the 
next to that, the pot was kept a-boiling, and then 
the women captured their men and toddled them 
home, and hid away their boots, until the delirium 
of the wedding march had passed away. 

No more feasting and fiddling now. The 
"day" is kept secret, and the "happy pair" 
arrive, somehow, before a registrar, and are 
hitched up, according to law. Mary may marry 
John now, and no one be the wiser — a cold, 
cheerless, colourless thing is this sort of wedding. 

A funeral is still an event, and touches hidden 
springs, which must gush forth, and will take no 
denial. The people have a superstitious rever- 
ence for the dead. The doors and windows of 
the chamber are thrown open for the unfettered 
spirit to escape, and, one by one, neighbours and 
friends take a last look at familiar features. To 
be " a 'ansum corpse, white as a lily and light as 
cobwebs,'' is a consolation to an old rip, when 
looking at his wasted hands. A village funeral 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 153 

is a long procession with sacred hymns. Then a 
cup of tay and a bit of curranty cake amongst 
the women, who talk and sigh, and tell each 
other of their own complaints, and the complaints 
which carried off their friends. Widow-women 
are great at funerals, which freshen up their 
memories. '' My man was teeled a year agone, 
an' I do miss 'un/' says number one. ^' Ess, fath, 
my dear, and no wan do knaw what tes like them 
that's lonely,'* says number two. "Tes bitter 
cauld in winter, an' I tells my maid her poor 
father would be weth me now ef 'twadn't for want 
of bref. Tes a wisht complaint, that," continues 
number one, sighing. " 'Twadn't like that weth 
my man, fur he had es bref up to the last," replies 
number two, triumphantly vindicating the superior 
merits of her dear departed. 

Widow-women don't often change their names. 
If without money they are not tempted ; and if 
they have enough they may tempt, but seldom 
yield. The next-of-kin are very watchful over 
the shekels ; and the man who marries a widow 
with relations does not always enter paradise. 
A widow-woman is looked on in the light of an 
investment. Here is a short story. Mrs. Treloar 
was a widow-woman with a bit of property — just 
comfortable, as times go. She was no great 
beauty, but the chapel steward cast a longing eye 
towards her, and wished to lose no time. Said 
he: "We doan't want to go coorting, do us? 



154 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

Waste of precious time for us who are both old 
enuf to know our own minds/' Said she : " You 
knawy s'poase, ef I do marry agen, boy Tom'U have 
the property ? " Then he : ** Why, es that so ? 
Then you won't sell at that price, I'm thinkin'. 
Good day, my dear." No harm done. 

Guy made the observation that the people 
we saw about were not much given to frills. He 
supposed they had them packed up somewhere, 
but there being no swagger concerts, and bands 
on swagger piers, with swagger subscription 
tickets for the season, no one unpacked them. 
It would be too absurd to go about freshly 
dollied up, three times daily, to show one's self to 
sea-cliffs, and sea-sands, moss-grown monoliths, 
and British tumuli, and all that sort of thing. 
The piskies would laugh. The Bookworm re- 
membered a French professor writing that when 
he visited the Acropolis at Athens he removed 
his rings and watchchain as being too much out 
of keeping with his surroundings. He said he 
smiled at the confession at the time as "too 
Frenchy," but it had a new meaning for him 
here. Wherever we went no one we met seemed 
to want to show off their " frills " to one another, 
or to the hoary fragments of antiquity permitted 
to survive — one would just as soon think of 
dressing up and showing off in a museum of 
extinct animals. It must take a lot off a woman's 
brain, Guy said, to know that she need not 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 155 

unpack her things ; and he supposed that was one 
reason why so many took their fresh air and 
sunshine treatment now on Cornish moors and 
beaches, instead of crowding stuffy old German 
spas^ where it was the rule to put in time in 
showing new " frills " to one another. 

The curiosity of the people inhabiting high- 
waysi byways, and villages as to the going and 
coming of strangers has been so gratified of late, 
that little short of a dancing bear would cause a 
woman to run to her door, and stare wide-eyed 
and open-mouthed. The advent of the hatless 
one in many colours, making the sun to blush, or 
in oilskins in wet weather, seemingly satisfied the 
native, and made every other vagary, hats or no 
hats, clothes or none, not only possible, but 
something to be looked for amongst strangers. 
A tall, thin lady, showing much wrist and leg, 
swinging a stick, and wearing her hair short, 
passed along the road, taking it easy at five 
miles an hour. She was a new arrival at a 
whitewashed house with thatched roof at the end 
of the village. We were chatting to an old 
woman in a big blue sunbonnet (called a ** gook ''), 
who had rested her basket on the top step of the 
market cross. 

" Stranger ? " asked Guy. 

'' Iss, sure ; we doan't grow that soart in this 
soil, but they may wan day, for I do mind when 
they ded'n grow mangel-wuzzels. What do I 



156 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

caal 'em ? Why, I do caal 'em great he-shees — 
they'm spoiled fur women, and hain't vitty fur 
men." 

This was a wayside verdict on a choice variety 
of the sort 




r/^-"^ 




Chapter XVII 



DRNISH humour has its prac- 
tical side with a tang. "To 
curing your old cow till she 
died," is native. A candidate 
for Parliamentary honours once 
sent the freemen of the borough 
a silver teapot, as a prize to be sailed for at 
the forthcoming regatta. The freemen returned 
it with the remark that "the taypot do not 
draw well enuf." The teapot came back again 
filled with golden guineas, which so unproved 
its "drawing" powers that the freemen kept it 
A Cornishman likes a story about some one who 
comes out on top by a trick ; or one which hides 
his meaning by a play of words, until the 



158 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

situation is revealed in a flash. We picked up a 
few specimens. 



As Deep as Old Hugh. 

Two brothers went a-fishing, and one was a 
scholar, with a reputation beyond his attainments^ 
which, in fact, were limited to reading and 
writing, after a fashion, and reckoning with his 
head. The other was a man of simple and 
trustful nature, and was often puzzled, but let 
things go without inquiring deeply into them. 
The scholar was called Hugh, and as he managed 
to come out on top on most occasions, he was 
considered both cunning and wise, and people 
encouraged their children to cram themselves 
with book-learning in order to become ** as deep 
as old Hugh ; " and " deep as old Hugh " became 
a proverb which he locally shared with old Nick, 
who, up to this time, had the monopoly. The 
simple brother was Dick. Hugh and Dick were 
partners in a small boat and nets, and earned a 
poor living by their trammels, and drag-nets, and 
crab-pots. What they caught they equally 
divided, but Hugh always had the best half, 
which puzzled Dick ; but scratch his head as he 
might, he could never get to the bottom of the 
mystery, everything being so fair and above- 
board, and done in the light of day. One day 
they were out and caught six mackerel and six 



MAKING CRAB POTS. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 159 

scads. Now, scads are of small value, and yet 
Dick got them all, and Hugh all the mackerel. 
Hugh did the sharing : " Here's a mackerel for 
me, and a scad for you," said he, making a 
division; "and a scad for you, and a mackerel 
for me ; and a mackerel for me and a scad for 
you," and so on, until a/l the scads fell to Dick, 
and a// the mackerel to himself. Hugh's system 
was perfect, and, if it could be adapted, might be 
depended on to break the bank of Monte Carlo 
every night. " How is it that Fve got all the 
scads ? " asked Dick. " It's all right," replied 
Hugh, pleasantly. *' And if you don't think so, 
I'll do it over again — here's a mackerel for me 
and a scad for you, and a scad for you and a 
mackerel for me," and so on to the end, until Dick 
got ail the scads as before. 

'^ He would have settled the fiscal question 
in no time," said Guy. '' ' A mackerel for me and 
a scad for you ' — a fair motto for protectionists." 
The game was played in the Far East with the 
Mikado, but the Czar got the scads. It's safest 
played with the blind. 



The Man who slept with a Badger. 

Guy wanted something done to a shoe, and 
walked into a room where a man was sitting, 
waxing a long thread, and whistling to the 
thrushes and blackbirds hung around in cages. 



i6o Cornish Saints and Sinners 

The fellow was most obliging, Guy told us, and 
put aside the work he was doing, and asked 
several questions about himself — where he came 
from ; where he was going ; how long he intended 
to stay ; and whether his father and mother were 
living ? Then the cobbler told him about him- 
self, and how many of the Tremains — he being 
called Reuben Tremain — lay in the parish church- 
yard. All this time Guy's shoe rested on his 
apron. Just a few stitches were all that was 
wanted, and Mr. Tremain got in one when he 
started talking of London, what a " braave plaace " 
it must be, and what a " pure few " people it con- 
tainedy all being true that he had heard. Guy 
forgot about his shoe, and gave an entertaining 
sketch of a London crowd in Fleet Street on 
Lord Mayor's Day, and the Lord Mayor s show 
was described in his best style. And then the 
Crystal Palace on a fSte day, and on a Handel 
Festival day, and the Houses of Parliament, and 
Madame Tussaud's 1 Guy made the Arabian 
Nights' Entertainments look small, and he began 
to fear that Reuben Tremain would be paralyzed 
with admiration, and unable to put in another 
stitch. All the morning was gone, and Guy still 
sat on a low three-legged stool, with one shoe off, 
as happy as any Lord Chancellor on the Wool- 
sack. He really was enjoying himself with the 
simple Reuben. 

"Ded 'ee ever hear tell ov a man up to 



Cornish Saints and Sinners i6i 

Lunnon who slept with a badger?" asked the 
cobbler, at length piercing the shoe* with his awl 
for another stitch. 

"A real, live badger?" 

" Ess, sure, live enough." 

"Never," said Guy, turning up his nose. 

" Why, a badger " And he put his thumb 

and finger to his nostrils, with a sign which meant 
more than words. 

"I knaw a man," said the cobbler, confi- 
dentially, " who have slept with a badger for ten 
year, come next Michaelmas Fair goose day. 
And he got so accustomed to it that he cudn't 
sleep apart Would 'ee like to see the badger ? " 

" Very much." 

" And the man ? " 

" Oh, certainly. One of Nature's freaks." 

"Two ov em !" said Reuben, solemnly, putting 
in the last stitch, and handing the shoe to Guy. 

" You'd like to see what's to be seen, s'poase ?" 

The cobbler whistled shrilly whilst untying 
his apron, and a woman with dark hazel eyes, 
and a face aquiline and refined, appeared. Guy 
made his best bow. 

" The gentleman do want to see the badger 
that the man slept with," said Reuben, slowly. 

" And the man, I should like to see the man 
who had such extraordinary taste," added Guy, 
saying something just to enable him to look at 
the woman without being rude. 

M 



1 62 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

The woman reddened, and her eyes sparkled. 

" Tell un' my dear, what name you owned to 
avoor you was married," said the cobbler. 

" Badger ; and too good for you," replied the 
lady. 

"That's the badger, and this is the man," 
said the cobbler, with a smile. 

Guy was very cross when he told the story. 
Only to think that he had painted London town 
and London wit in such colours ; and then to be 
dropped on by a simple cobbler before a hand- 
some woman ! But he wasn't cross long, and he 
went out and bought a pretty chain, and gave it 
to the cobbler to lead his "badger" with. So 
Guy and the cobbler cried quits. 

The Parson trumps. 

To be able to do a " clane off trick " is to be 
the hero in a parish for generations, and Parson 
Arscott was quoted at all the fairs as a master- 
piece for doing the thing clane off at a horse deal. 
The story goes that the reverend gentleman 
attended Summercourt Fair, which is famed 
throughout the land. If you can't get what you 
want at Summercourt Fair, you must be hard to 
please, for the lame and the blind are there, the 
young and the aged, the sound and unsound, and 
you buy on your own judgment and without 
warranty. Parson Arscott knew a good horse 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 163 

when he saw it, and went early and looked about 
him. In the thick of the fair the parson went 
and examined the horses' tails, and so attracted 
attention to himself, for every one knows that to 
tell a horse's age you must open its mouth, and 
look at its teeth. And the curious part of the 
business was that the parson knew as much about 
the animal he was handling by lifting its tail as 
other people did by opening its mouth. At 
length, parson came to a nice little cob that 
suited him, and the deal began. It was a weary 
deal, but parson was firm. '' I've looked at his 
tail, and I know he's rising five," said he; and 
he was right, — whatever the parson said about 
the cob was right, and yet he never once looked 
at its mouth. There was a trifle of five pounds 
between them when the shades of evening began 
to fall, and no hope of any advance on the part 
of the parson. At last the dealer said, *' Tell me 
how you know a horse's age by his tail, and you 
shall have the cob." The parson counted down 
the guineas, and whispered, " I looked into his 
mouth beforehand." " Parson Arscott's deal " 
makes a horse-dealer shiver to this day. 

The Parson euchred. 

But sharp as the parson was at the fair, he 
was no match for a woman on her own ground. 
Parson was round collecting his tithes, and came 



164 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

to a farm whereon the farmer's wife presented 
her husband with a tenth child, and an old sow 
littered ten vears. 

<<Passun es out in the town plaace, and es 
coom vur th' tithe pig. Which shall us giv'm ? " 
asked the farmer of his better half, sitting in the 
kitchen suckling her baby. 

*' Tithe pig, es et? What next, I wonder? 
ril tithe pig'n/' says Mrs. Farmer, rising and 
taking the infant widi her. 

The parson was very polite, of course, to 
Mrs. Farmer and number ten, and asked about 
the christening. 

"That's vur you to zay, passun,'' says the 
lady, holding out number ten. '^ He do belong 
to you." 

The parson flushed. This was not in his line. 

" Ess sure 'e do— tes the tithing cheeld, and 
now you take un." 

Farmer made his appearance with the weak- 
liest of the ten vears squealing in his arms, and 
the parson made towards him, but the woman 
was equal to the occasion and stood between 
them, shouting, " No cheeld, no vear," and that 
time she had her way, and saved the little pig. 

So there arose a saying in the parish that a 
parson might cheat the devil, but a woman could 
cheat a parson. 

*• Every one to his trade," said Guy. 
« • • « • 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 165 

To be "sure for sartin" is an averment of 
absolute knowledge, but a Cornishman is not 
often willing to speak to anything in so pro- 
nounced a fashion. To be "sure as can be" 
admits of a loophole and many explanations in 
the event of erron Something non-committal in 
the shape of speech suits him best. Things of 
no consequence become mysterious when screened 
with secrecy. An ordinary conversation is like 
this— 

" Where are you going ? " 

'* Down along." 

" Where to ? " 

" Past the corner." 

" How far ? " 

" A pure bit." 

" Will you be long ? " 

" Maybe." 

"Say an hour.^" 

"If you like." 

" Or two ? " 

" Shudn't wonder." 

And so on, and so on, until the questioner is 
tired of asking further questions. The people 
don't notice anything peculiar about this want of 
directness in reply to the simplest questions. To 
tell the truth, and yet to mislead, is looked on as 
an accomplishment which may be turned to profit 
without scandal, as by the man who sold a blind 
horse as free from vice. "To be blind is a 



1 66 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

misfortune and not a vice/' replied the seller, 
when charged with deceit 

Cornish diamonds are hard to beat on a deal. 
We chanced upon a couple one market day 
chaffering about a pig in a tap-room. 

" Twenty score weight, and fippence a pound/' 

" Fourpence ha'penny, and I'll take the head 
and oal ov'm." 

"An' barley eighteen shillin' a bushel! I'll 
see to it." 

One hour already by the clock had been 
consumed by the little farmer who had a pig to 
sell, and the little pork-butcher who wanted to 
buy one, and there was this ha'penny between 
them. Friendly customers chaffed a bit and 
threw in a word between drinks, and it seemed 
that the jobber who could keep a stiff upper lip 
and his temper longest would come out on top. 
The unfortunate pig was haggled over with and 
without the hams, with and without the bacon 
fat, with one ham only, with its head, without 
its head, with only half its head, and every 
cunning offer of the little pork-butcher was 
resisted with a fineness of perception of self- 
interest that would have done credit to the peace 
plenipotentiaries at Portsmouth. 

Another hour passed, and the butcher advanced 
one farthing — fourpence three-farthings, but with- 
out the head, and then there was the "luck 
penny." At last the whole carcase was sold, 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 167 

head and all, at fourpence three-farthings, and 
the "luck penny" was "spent out" It was a 
hard deal, and neither seemed too well pleased. 
Only the customers all said it was a fair bargain, 
and seemed pleased when the men shook hands 
over it. 





Chapter XVIII 




"]IFE on a farm by the roar of the 
sea approaches the ideal upon 
earth. It isn't quite the ideal, 
because the ideal is always round 
the corner ; but it is near it, and 
that is something to be thankful 
for. Mrs. Andrawartha ran the farm, and she 
had two tall, strapping sons and a daughter. Mrs. 
Andrawartha was what is called a " comfortable " 
woman ; and " comfort " is the one virtue prized 
above rubies in these parts. 

It was through accident that we struck the 
farm one afternoon, the fact being that the Book- 
worm was limping, having slightly sprained his 
ankle. There wasn't much to recommend us at 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 169 

first sight — three dusty wayfarers, with small 
knapsacks, and no warts or other indications of 
royal lineage upon either of us. The farmhouse 
was situated in an old-fashioned garden, and a 
good, roomy porch, with seats on either side, 
offered hospitdity. Open windows were visible 
through luxuriant fuchsias and creepers, but what 
the walls were built of no one could tell, so com- 
pletely covered were they with flowering plants. 
It was a sort of place which wanted to be looked 
at again and again, something fresh coming into 
view each time ; and the oftener you looked at it 
the more you liked it 

The Bookworm rapped modestly with his 
knuckles upon the thick door, but no one came. 
We could hear voices, and an aromatic perfume 
filled the passage. The Bookworm tried again, 
and only hurt his knuckles. Then Guy said 
he'd negociate, and if he got into trouble we 
were there to help him. The smell of burning 
furze and brambles guided him to the great kitchen, 
and he winked again and coughed as the smoke 
from the wide open fireplace filled his eyes. 
There was a little maid heaping up the thorns 
and brambles, and somewhere in the blue haze 
he saw the supple outline of a young girl, with 
her arms bare. They were heating the brick 
oven for bread-baking. A very sweet voice 
floated through the film of blue, aromatic smoke. 
A sudden draught cleared the smoke, and Guy 



lyo Cornish Saints and Sinners 

stood face to face with the owner of the voice ; 
and a nice face it was, now radiant with the heat 
from the burning brambles. The bare arms were 
dimpled, and the whole figure was cased in a 
white wrapper, showing to perfection the clear 
skin, and brown hair, and light hazel eyes of the 
young girl. This was Miss Andrawartha. 

Mrs. Andrawartha was in the " living-room " 
(and a nice room it was), overlooking much of the 
farm land, the sea beyond, and the great cliffs, 
rising sheer from the yellow sands, playing hide- 
and-seek between them. The lady was portly, 
and sat in a chair made for comfort before the 
open window, and Guy, ushered into the presence 
of such homely dignity, wished to stammer an 
excuse, and back out. Remembrance of the 
sprained foot alone restrained him. 

*' You can stop here as long as you've a mind 
to, if only you behave yourselves," said the lady 
in the chair. 

" Three of us ? " queried Guy. 

" The house is big enough," said the lady. 

Guy made a rush for the porch. " Come in, 
you beggars," said he ; " there's a queen inside, 
and a divinity in the kitchen." 

At the evening meal we were incorporated 
with the family. Mrs. Andrawartha, in her chair 
of comfort, presided, supported by her two tall 
sons, then us, then the farm servants, and the 
daughter of the house at the other end of the table. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 171 

Our presence made no difference to the social 
economy of the farm, except that Mrs. Andra- 
wartha presided over a late breakfast in the living- 
room. This was quite a personal compliment, 
and never could woman look more '* comfortable " 
than the widow Andrawartha at table. 

" If this is farm life, Tm a convert for ever," 
said Guy, chipping an egg and catching the white 
cream in his spoon. 

The bread, just perfumed with the aroma of 
the burning furze with which the dome oven was 
heated, was delicious by itself, but with the butter 
thick upon it, the palate rose to the occasion and 
was satisfied. The home-cured ham in front of 
the comfortable widow would take no denial, and 
must be tasted. The cream, with its sheen of 
gold, and the honey, winking wickedly at the 
cream, would not be put aside ; so there was 
nothing for it but to mix them both in holy matri- 
mony upon the perfumed bed of bread. There 
was such a blend of delicate flavours and sightly 
delicacies that our eyes would shut, so that nothing 
might interfere with the joys of taste. Only a 
few flowers were on the table, but through the 
open window floated the scents of the garden, 
and the bees hummed and waltzed, and there was 
room for all, and to spare, at the table of the 
comfortable widow. 

" Great Scott ! " said Guy. " I shall never 
forget. Such everything ! Only the worst of it 



172 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

is, I shall never like anything again for evermore. 
Fancy shop eggs, and ' best Dosset/ and alumed 
bread, and stale ham after this feast of the gods, 
when they lived among men. There's one saint 
still in Cornwall — ^the saint of good things at the 
shrine of the comfortable widow." 

We left the Bookworm to himself and the odd 
volumes of the Arminian Magazine^ and such- 
like food for such as he, and he seemed as pleased 
as Punch at the thought of being alone with any- 
thing musty, fusty, and out of date. 

** Incurable," said Guy. " This reading habit 
sticks to a fellow of his sort, like dram-drinking 
to a tramp.'' 

Guy was in the seventh heaven of delight 
when the daughter of the house told him that in 
an orchard, through which the brook ran to the 
sea, there were some trout. Her father used to 
bring home '^ a fine passul " sometimes, and his 
rod and lines were all in the house, for the boys 
never troubled the fish. So Guy went a-fishing, 
his heart full of content with his breakfast, and 
susceptible to the diviner impressions which the 
daughter of the house in blue print and white 
apron might make upon him. The boys called 
her " Phil," but her name was Phyllis ; he had 
got so far as that, when the widow's voice awoke 
him from contemplation of eyes and hair, and all 
the points which young men like to study at 
chance meetings. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 173 

He found the brook, and then the orchard. 
The water was as bright as glass, and the sun- 
motes danced upon it between the shadows. 
Trout there were in the stream, but they had not 
tasted a worm for a month, except by chance, 
and the flies were not to their liking. Guy 
walked up stream to where the brook was fed by 
two trickling rills, where there was some depth 
of water, and an old, overhanging bank, and 
current enough for his fly to sail downward, 
temptingly, to the eyes of adventurous trout 
wanting to see life. At the deepest part the 
stream was shadowed by a large apple tree, and 
here Guy changed his flies, and cast deftly towards 
the spot where he felt sure the king of the stream 
must linger, if, indeed, it had a king. Presently, 
a melodious splash above his own fly told its 
secret, and Guy's hopes rose until he caught a 
little beauty, and then another, and another, and 
laid them on the grass, covering them with dock 
leaves with loving tenderness. Small fry that he 
would have been thankful for on other days he 
returned to the stream with words of advice. 

Breakfast doesn't last for ever, and Guy 
began to feel peckish, but he wasn't going to 
give up yet, not he. He'd take home a fry of 
trout which would send an incense above the 
farm to the blue heavens, and make all invisible 
spirits envious. Presently he heard dry branches 
breaking under a light footstep, and the daughter 



174 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

of the farm stood by him, a ministering angel, 
with a pasty and a bottle of milk in a basket 
covered with a cloth of purest white. This was 
what she used to do for her father, who wouldn*t 
leave off until he had a dish to his liking ; and 
mother, thinking all men who fished for trout 
were the same, sent her with the basket of 
" croust " to keep off the pangs. So the dainty 
messenger. Then Guy uncovered his spoil, and 
Phyllis played him artlessly, so that he, in his 
turn, rose and bolted the sweet bait, and turned 
to go down stream again, only to know that he 
was in the toils, unless the fair angler should let 
him go. 

She must go herself now, and Guy, who could 
not get away on his own account, felt grieved 
that release must come. It was sudden, but 
irresistible, and the thrilling exquisite. Then 
came the shock. ''I am bespoke already, sir." 
The line parted. 

Guy fished and fished until after sunset, 
but joy of capture was gone. He had himself 
been captured, and felt pity. Still he brought 
home a fine basket, and the comfortable widow 
served them up for breakf^t, whole, and still 
beautiful. 

The Bookworm, nursing his slight sprain, 
enjoyed himself in his own fashion, and, rummag- 
ing at the back of the open book-case, unearthed 
a book, bound in parchment, which commenced 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 175 

with farm accounts, and ended with " Receipts 
and Charms for the Cure of Man and Beastes." 
The pages were undated, but were written a 
hundred years ago by one Andrawartha, grand- 
father of the comfortable widow's husband. The 
document bore the following preface : — 

"Lest I forget what has been told to me, 
I commit to paper charms and other devices for 
the cure of men and beastes. My forbears used 
these charms for more years than I can tell, and 
those who use them must have faith in them that 
they will work their work, or they labour in vain. 
And I pray God that I commit no sin in handing 
down what I have been taught, but that it may 
be counted merit in me to preserve what has 
been found out with much labour, and hath spared 
man and beast great and grievous sufferings in 
the flesh, and saved much money, when it could 
ill be spent, as, God wot, is the case on farms in 
this country. 

'* * Mortal are we and subject to diseases, 
We all must die even when and how God pleases ! 
Into the world but one way we do come, 
A thousand ways from hence we are sent home.' " 

Some of the receipts would offend moderns, 
but all were seemingly set down in good faith ; 
and the Bookworm copied many, with permission. 

" A tooth from a dead man's mouth carried in 
the pocket is an infallible charm against tooth- 
ache." 



176 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

"The eighth psalm read three times a day, 
three days running, cures the thrush." 

"To keep away evil spirits from cattle, nail 
four horse-shoes in the form of a cross against 
the door." 

"A church key applied to a wound stops 
bleeding." 

" Bore a hole in a nutmeg and tie round your 
neck, and nibble nine mornings fasting, and boils 
will disappear in spring and autumn." 

" Breathe over a newly made grave, and cure 
a cough." 

" Take spoonful of earth from grave of newly 
interred virgin, dissolve in water, and drink fast- 
ing, to cure * decline.' " 

" Toad's liver fried is good for rheumatism, so 
also are adders' tails ; the adders must be killed 
whilst dew is on them." 

" The sign of the cross drawn on wood, stone, 
or metal, and bound over a wound, stops bleeding 
in man or beast." 

For toothache was this formula : '' Upon a 
rock St. Peter stood, towards Jerusalem. And 
Peter prayed, ' Lord, forgive me my sins, and I 
shall be free. In the name of the Father, and of 
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost — Amen.' Say 
three times a day, three days running, and drink 
powdered brimstone water between whiles." 

To cure heartache: "Sleep with key of 
church door around your neck." 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 177 

"Water taken from church font is good for 
children with ricketSi and will straighten bow- 
legged children, and children with ' wobbles/ " 

''Black spiders dried and powdered cure 
heart-burn." There were many other cures for 
heart-bum^ and all of them nasty, so nasty that 
spider-powder sprinkled in water was dainty by 
comparison. 

Meteorolites and curious stones when ground 
to powder will cure men or beasts of all common 
diseases, and blue snake-stones are infallible in 
case of snake-bite. 

There were love philtres innumerable, and 
it appeared that a deserted maid had only to 
steal her lover^s jacket, turn the sleeves inside 
out^ bury it at midnight in a churchyard^ and 
then, presto 1 the lover's heart would turn, and 
turn, as the jacket rotted in the ground, until he 
came back repentant to his ancient flame. 

The Bookworm made notes of many other 
things which would do for the curious in such 
matters, and remarked as singular that, in all the 
book, there was no reference to saints or invoca- 
tions to saints, which, he said, was very strange in 
the land of saints. Guy confessed that the matter 
was beyond him, and said he did not care if he 
never heard the word '' saint " again. Saint this, 
and saint that, and saint the other — there was too 
much of it in one small county, to his taste. 

N 



Chapter XIX 



ilRS. ANDRAWARTHA took 
kindly to the Bookworm ; he 
was the lame duck of the party, 
and so she took a motherly 
interest in him, and got him to 
talk about himself and his sleep- 
less, restless nights, until he came into this land 
wherein Nature was at rest, beautifying herself 
after passionate upheavals. And then she told 
him fairy stories about piskies with half-shy 
credulity, and sorrow in her face and voice that 
the old order had changed and given place to 
new. In her young days a pedlar with a big dog 
used to travel from farmhouse to farmhouse, 
and always got hospitality in exchange for news. 
178 



-IPK" 



THE OLD MItX. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 179 

At night all the household crowded around the 
pedlar to hear him fiddle and sing, and tell stories 
of the piskies, and of men who listened to the 
songs of mermaids, and disappeared from family 
and life. This pedlar — "Uncle" Anthony he 
was called — was a poet, and his piskies were 
real, as real as sunshine and shadow and the 
music of the birds. He knew them by name 
and talked to them, and met them by moonlight 
on the moors, and what " Uncle " Anthony said 
was gospel truth. 

There was an old miller, living at an old mill 
not so very far away, who had the reputation of 
knowing more about piskies than any man 
breathing. It was only a walking distance for 
the Bookworm, and Guy took his rod with him, 
having been told that below the mill he might 
cast a fly with some prospect of sport Whipping 
a stream is something, and Guy said he'd rather 
cast at shadows than hang about a dusty old mill, 
listening to a foolish old man prating about 
foolish things. In fact, he was a little strong in 
his language, as he usually was when talking 
about people or things which did not interest him 
very much. 

The old piskie man at the mill was, in fact, 
the Bookworm's " find," which was quite enough, 
as a rule, to put Guy in opposition, and incline 
him to use epigrammatic language touched 
with red. 



i8o Cornish Saints and Sinners 

We reached the mill, the like of which is 
hardly to be found again within the four comers 
of the kingdom. It was a one-story building, 
and that so low that we had to be careful when 
inside not to knock our heads * against the beams, 
and the machinery was as primitive as the process 
of grinding com between revolving stones driven 
by water power. The ancient hopper was being 
slowly consumed by worms, and the '' bolting'' 
cloths hung limp and dusty, like the cloths sent 
home from Egyptian tombs. We first spied 
the miller looking through a ventilation hole, 
which served as a window. When we entered 
the mill he was sitting on the lid of a thick oak 
chest, which had outlived the centuries, and 
seemed quite capable of lasting for ever. 

The miller was withered, like the chest, and 
might have been believed if he said he was as 
old as the mill, only his eyes were bright and 
ferrety as they took stock of us through the 
flour dust accumulated on his eyebrows and 
lashes — ^a sort of flour mummy outside of his 
grave-clothes out for an airing, he looked. The 
machinery was in motion when we entered, and 
a fine dust soon settled upon us, and then set us 
coughing and choking, so that we made a hasty 
retreat through the door, the top half of which 
was already open. 

The miller's cottage was a thatched dwelling 
tacked on to the mill, which was also thatched, 



Cornish Saints and Sinners i8i 

but nothing was visible of the cottage but 
windows, on account of the clustering roses and 
myrtles and fuschias which clung to the old 
^'cob'^ walls, and crept along the eaves, and 
scrambled along the thatch. 

The old miller followed us out into the open, 
and stopped the wheel by turning off the water ; 
and then we noticed that the dripping wheel was 
festooned with lichen, and was half-hidden under 
the shadow of a huge flowering laurel. There 
were only three other cottages in the village, and 
these were all flower-laden ; and now the clat, 
clat, clatter of the old wheel was stopped, the air 
was musical with the hum of insect symphonies. 
And then the perfume ! 

We looked at one another and wondered. 

'' Quiet like," said the old man ; and that was 
all he had to say about this antique gem in a 
garden of myrtles and roses. "Quiet like," 
indeed I Surely men may live in beauty until 
they cease to see it. 

We were out piskie-hunting to-day, all except 
Guy, who already had his eye upon the stream 
which passed the old mill, then broadened where 
it could be seen glistening in the sunshine. He 
wasn't long before he deserted us, and we were 
not sorry, being sure that if he once commenced 
questioning the miller in his ofl'-hand manner, the 
old man would dry up quickly, and we should 
hear little. 



1 82 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

The Bookworm took the old man's fancy by 
telling him about a new process for grinding flour 
between rollers so hard that they could only be 
cut by diamonds, and then, with many windings, 
got on the track of the piskies. He took a lot 
of starting, it is true, but when once started he 
covered a good deal of ground. He would take 
his own course, and a crooked one it was, but 
capable of being straightened out, which is more 
than can truly be said of the discourses of some 
very learned people. 

He was as '' sure and sartin '* that piskies 
were real beings, and existed even now, as that 
" water was wet," and he ought to know, because 
there was a piskie which belonged to the old 
mill. There was some trouble one day at the 
mill about the non-delivery of "grist," the miller 
being charged with taking unfair toll, and he 
shifted the responsibility on to his wife, who 
thereupon transferred the blame to the piskie, 
as the person least likely to suffer in consequence. 
It so happened that the piskie got to know of 
the slander, and he came to the mill in a great 
rage, and swore an oath binding in fairyland, not 
to do another stroke of work in the old mill for 
two generations. 

" When I was a boy," said the old man, " I 
used to see the piskie that belonged to the mill 
sitting on the stones when they were grinding as 
comfortable as a fly would rest upon a turning 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 183 

wheel. And why not ? When my father went 
to market, and stopped away days, when there 
was no need, the work was done all the same. 
My father liked that very well, only the piskie 
would give too good *tummels' when he filled 
the sacks ; and when my father took too much 
tolly then he would tickle the palm of his hand, 
and make it itch, to remind him that he was 
cheating. When a miller is honest, a tuft of hair 
grows in the middle of his palm ; but it didn't 
ever sprout in my father's, which made him poor- 
tempered sometimes. The piskie was in the 
shape of a man — very dark, black-haired, and 
cross-eyed. He could work best, the old folks 
said, when not seen ; only his voice was large for 
his size, and made people know when he was 
about. He was the spirit of the mill, and be- 
longed to it, so there was no question of payment ; 
and the children grew knowing he was there, and 
were not afraid. Why should they be ? When 
the piskie said he would do no more work for two 
generations, my father stuck to work himself, 
which was better for him in the long run ; and 
I've had to stick to it, and shall stick to it till 
I die, and then the piskie will be free to come 
again." 

" And are there piskies now ? " 

" Why not ? " 

" I don't know. But do people believe in 
them ? " asked the Bookworm. 



184 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

The old miller seemed to resent the question, 
and was so long in replying that we thought we 
had made a mess of it. It, however, appeared 
that he was only thinking ; and at last he said — 

" For sartin sure they do. You can't make 
butter if the piskies turn the cream against the 
sun, and every dairymaid will tell 'ee so. If the 
piskie up to Barton farm has a spite against a 
new maid, he'll spoil her baking of bread, so that 
the bread will come out of the oven full of 
* piskie-spits,' and he'll play her tricks until she 
is turned out of the house. When I was a boy, 
the piskies used to have fine fun with the maidens 
up to Barton on winter nights when all the work 
was done. They used to blaw out the candles 
and kiss the maids, and the maids would screech 
and find fault with the boys, and 'scat their 
chacks' for being too free in the dark. The 
piskies were full of fun, and would whisper 
in a maid's ear when she was sleeping, and tickle 
her nose to wake her when she had bad dreams. 
When the maids were courting they'd lead 'em 
a pretty dance, and drive 'em to quarrel with 
their sweethearts, and then help 'em to make it 
up again." 

But the old man did not think they were as 
plentiful as they used to be, for the simple reason 
that people had learnt to do without them. What 
would be the good of the piskies in the harvest- 
field now, when everything was done by 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 185 

machinery ; or in dairies, where butter was made 
in churns ; or in flour-mills, where com was 
broken between rollers so hard that a diamond 
could only scratch them? The old man found 
it as hard to swallow the Bookworm's description 
of roller mills as we found it to swallow his 
stories, and his were much more inviting. The 
ancient miller rambled on and on, telling us of 
tricks played upon his very own grandfather, 
who, returning from market with more brandy 
toddy under his belt than his weak head could 
carry, dared to cross a piskie ring on the moor 
without first turning his pockets inside out by 
way of homage. The poor man was pinched 
black and blue, was bound with bonds innumer- 
able, no thicker than spiders' webs, and then, to 
tantalize him, his eyes were " struck " with magic 
unguent, and he was able to see the feasting and 
rioting going on all around him, without being 
able to enjoy the situation — ^all of which he did 
most steadfastly believe. 

"Blow the piskiesi" said Guy, rejoining us 
without warning. " Blow the piskies ! Did you 
ever catch one, Master Miller ? " 

A look of horror passed over the withered 
old face, which made it look uncanny. Catch a 
piskie, indeed! Had he been asked whether 
he'd ever robbed a church, he might have taken 
it less seriously. 

" Never mind," said Guy, airily, seeing, that 



1 86 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

he'd been guilty of something — " never mind ; if 
you never have, you still may. Specimens getting 
scarcer, suppose, and a bit expensive ; only, you 
just pin one on to a card and send it to me regis- 
tered, for safety, and V\l come down handsomely." 

The old man never recovered power of speech 
while we were with him, and he shook hands 
with the Bookworm and me automatically. We 
left him with eyes wide open, staring before him. 
I don't think he quite understood Guy's humour. 
The idea of catching a piskie and pinning it to a 
card, like small boys do cockchafers, came too 
suddenly upon him. Then to register a piskie 
and send it through the post-office — deporting 
an ancient divinity under a postage stamp — set 
up ideas which wanted thinking out. 

I told Guy I feared the shock would be too 
much for the old man ; but he only laughed, and 
said — 

" Blow the piskie, and look at my beauty ! " 

He had managed to catch a trout too small 
for anything, and he patted himself on the back, 
and talked about it until he really believed he 
had done something deserving the world's 
gratitude. 

" After all/' said the Bookworm, when tired 
of listening to Guy and " fly " this or " fly " the 
other — ** after all, there's no great diflerence 
between Guy and the miller. Guy's little trout 
has become a fairy already, and to-morrow will 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 187 

be even more wonderful thao the miller's piskies. 

The mind's receptivity must " 

I know I lost a great deal, and ought to be 
sorry for it, I dare say ; but the word " recep- 
tivity " was too much, and I managed to escape 
that time. 




'hn(t«/?t.*TH- 



Chapter XX 



HERE was a queer, dried stick of 

a man at the farm whom we 

never heard speak except to say 

" Ess, maister," and " zackly." 

His name was Jacob, and he was 

famous for having given a shrewd 

answer on one occasion when asked how he knew 

when he had had enough to eat. " When I do 

feel my buttons," said he ; and people then said 

that Jacob was wiser than he looked, which was, 

no doubt, true, for he did not look very wise. 

The old boy had a trick of wandering about at 

nights, and was credited with having seen strange 

things which he was " a nation sight too artful to 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 189 



talk about." After the evening meal Mrs. Andra- 
wartha induced him to stay with us, and tell us 
the story of something which happened at a 
neighbouring farm. Jacob was reared on the 
place, and so knew all about it The widow 
translated as he went along, and the story ran 
like this : — 

Jacob's Piskie Story. 

A farmer, Nicholas Annear by name, was 
known far and wide as Ould Hurry-all. Every 
one about him was always glad to see his back 
turned, so as to have ** a bit " of peace and quiet- 
ness in the house. H is wife was just the opposite, 
and took things easy, and when Nickey was going 
to drive to market in his cart, he nearly drove 
every one on the place mazed. 'Twas hurry, 
hurry, hurry all the time; and one day he was 
worse than ever, and broke all the dome dishes 
in his tantrums. The poor woman threw her 
apron over her head, and began to weep and sob 
so as to be heard a mile off. 

Now, you must know, there's a little man 
piskie which belonged to the Missus's family, and 
came with her to her new home when she was 
married. He used to do odd jobs for her to 
make things go smooth when Nickey was taisey- 
like, which was every day now, for he got worse 
with age. 



190 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

" What's the matter, Missus ?" asks the little 
man. 

" I wish I was dead," says Missus. "That 
Nickey '11 drive me as mad as a curly, an' I'm 
only a shadder now." 

She weighed ten score, but she thought she 
was failing. 

*' I'll give 'm a lesson," says the little man. 

Now, what did the piskie do ? He hopped 
on to the cart by the side of Nickey, only Nickey 
couldn't see him, and he made a picture right 
before his very eyes so that he saw the church 
tower standing in the market-place as large as 
life. And he drove and he drove, hurry, hurry 
all the time, and he'd scarce give himself time to 
speak a civil word to people as he passed along. 
He drove, and he drove, and he drove, and there 
was the church tower before him. The pigs in 
the cart squealed louder and louder as they got 
more and more famished, and the horse began 
to fail, and Nickey got madder and madder. 
Evening began to fall, and still the church tower 
was in front of him ; and then night came, and 
the pigs were quiet through hunger, and the 
horse could scarcely put one leg before the other. 

And what did the little man do ? Oh, he was 
artful. When the market was all over, and night 
came, he removed the picture of the church tower 
in the market-place from Nickey 's eyes, and, lo 
and behold ! the horse was standing, dead tired 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 191 

and ready to drop, outside of the very gate which 
it had been driven from in the morning. 

Nicholas Annear was a reformed man after 
that, and was no more in a hurry over things 
than his neighbours. But the story got about, 
of course, and the people have a saying now that 
" a man in a hurry will be late to market." 
♦ * ♦ ♦ » 

The Early Church seems to have had a great 
deal of trouble with piskies, and every effort was 
made to put the people out of love with them. 
It was said that they were the souls of unbaptized 
infants and servants of " Old Artful," and for that 
reason they would neither enter a church nor come 
within sound of church bells. But Mrs. Andra- 
wartha told us of a legend which goes back 
further, namely, that piskies are the children of 
Adam and Eve, who wouldn't be washed on 
Saturday nights before going to bed. Those 
who could get away did, to avoid having their 
eyes filled with soap, and two hid away so effectu- 
ally that they were never found again, although 
Adam and Eve sent the crier round, and then 
cried themselves until they were tir6d. These 
wandering children lived upon fern-seed, mixed 
with dew flavoured with sunbeams, until they 
acquired the power of becoming invisible, and 
then they returned home, and did household 
work, and other things, for the family ; but they 
were like the famous soap that wouldn't wash. 



192 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

The old people used to tell children that they 
would be turned into piskies if they wotddn't 
have their Saturday-night tubbing and say their 
prayers and go to bed. 

There is a little brown moth called the 
" piskie/' and children are now told that if they 
are not good these piskie-moths will play them 
tricks in their sleep. The School Boards have 
wrestled with the piskie and failed, and now the 
County Council is in the ring. Still the piskie, 
visible and invisible, lives. 

The Bookworm was on his legs again, and 
we all were sorry to leave the farm and the com- 
fortable widow. Guy managed to linger behind 
and get a last word with Phyllis, the daughter of 
the house, and exchange photographs, or, perhaps, 
something dearer to romance. The two tall sons 
walked with us '' a pure distance," and told us the 
names of the farms round about, names which 
none but a native could ever remember. They 
told us that the Andrawarthas had farmed this 
land, from father to son, for over three centuries. 
The eldest son was going to marry soon and 
bring home his wife, but would not dispossess 
his mother during her lifetime. Only the other 
son would go afield — Australia or Canada — ^and 
set up for himself; and Phyllis was to be married 
soon to a neighbouring farmer, who would follow 
his own father by-and-bye. Everything seemed 
so orderly as they talked, as though the currents 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 193 

of life flowed strong and deep, and the idea of 
home was never disturbed. The young people 
did not stay at home dividing and subdividing 
lands and chattels until there was nothing to 
divide, but went abroad and set up new home- 
steads, calling them by the old names. Young 
Andrawartha said, whether he settled in Canada 
or Australia, he'd call his farm after the old place. 
If he couldn't have anything else he'd have the 
name to comfort him. Many of the young men 
did that, he said, when they settled in a new place. 

The Bookworm said Cornwall was a bigger 
place than it looked, or than could be gripped 
between the arms of the Atlantic, because of the 
tributaries it sent all over the world, every man 
taking with him a bit of Cornish earth and love, 
and setting up a new colony beyond the seas, 
just as the old Greeks carried with them some 
of the fire from the ancient hearths. 

Guy said he would remember the name of the 
farm for the rest of his life, and he tramped along 
with laggard steps, and would have given much 
for an excuse to run back and find a dropped 
handkerchief, and shake hands over again with 
the comfortable widow, on the chance of seeing 
Phyllis the bespoke. When we got off the estate, 
and the young men left us, he wanted to know 
whether it was possible to fancy the dainty 
Phyllis as " comfortable " in days to come as her 
portly mother ? 



lUUibArfi^Mrita 



194 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

We turned round just to take a last look at 
the farmhouse wherein we had been so well 
treated. The dwelling and all the outhouses 
made a goodly show, and, at a distance, the 
yellow lichen — a poor, poverty-looking thing 
enough — covering the roofs, had the appearance 
of burnished gold. Nature here will insist on 
dressing herself out in most unlikely places, and 
has a trick of her own for covering up ugliness. 
A flash of sunshine, a breath of air, a pinch of 
dust kissed with dew, and flat slates on ugly roofs 
are covered with cloth of gold for the tired feet 
of winged spirits of the air. This was the last 
view that three tramps had, and the remembrance 
remains with them. 

A Comishman seldom travels without a pasty. 
When small, a pasty is a snack ; when large, it's 
a meal. Mrs. Andrawartha gave each of us a 
pasty to keep us from fainting by the way, just 
the same as a considerate hostess elsewhere would 
slip a packet of dainty sandwiches into the hands 
of departing guests. " You'll find'm good," said 
she, with honest pride ; and we did. 

The home of the pasty is Cornwall. It may 
be met with in Devon, and is possible in York- 
shire, but Cornwall is its home now. In a sense 
the pasty is Cornish. There are other dishes, 
but the pasty comes first, the making of which is 
handed down from generation to generation. 
Every created thing that may be eaten goes into 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 195 

a pasty — fish, flesh, or fowl, and the herb of the 
field, whether sweet or sour, to say nothing of 
fruits and humble potatoes and turnips. When a 
woman has a rage for pasty-making, nothing 
comes amiss when the strip of dough is ready. 
There's a knack in turning out a shapely pasty 
no longer than one's hand, or big enough for a 
family to carve at and come again. All pasties 
are alike on the outside ; and the cable-twist run- 
ning from end to end, delicately tapering from the 
centre towards the points, is a work of art to look 
at. As the pasty goes to the oven, so it comes 
out, puffed up a little with self-conscious pride at 
having gone through the fiery trial and come out 
a generous brown, with every cable-twist intact, 
and every curve swelling with inward importance. 
The origin of the pasty is lost with the language, 
but the thing is universal, and the friend of all. 
The workman takes it in his bag, the traveller 
pops it in his pocket, the family sit around it. 
No knife, no fork, no tablecloth is wanted ; out 
comes the pasty, and the feast begins. - A pasty 
fresh from the oven sends up an incense which 
makes a hungry man thankful to be alive. A 
man will call at a friend's house with his pasty in 
his pocket, and the good woman will warm it for 
him, and he'll join the family circle without any 
one thinking it an intrusion. Tea is the drink 
with a pasty. Anything else will do, from white 
wine to cider ; but tea is the drink for choice. 



196 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

A pie is another Cornish dish, and lends itself 
to the racial aptitude for secrecy. Almost any- 
thing under the sun may be put into a pie, and 
no one be the wiser, for the crust puts on a brave 
face and hides the poverty (should there be 
poverty) underneath. No end of stories have 
been told of pies. A person in a sarcastic mood 
has been known to send a neighbour a pie with a 
halter in it ; but the piskies did something better 
than that, and sent the barren wife of the Earl of 
Cornwall a pie which, when opened, was filled 
with sweet herbs and wild flowers, in the midst 
of which a little heir lay smiling. And then, as a 
set-off, Old Nick comes in and watches a woman 
make an '' all-sorts'^ pie, in which nothing seemed 
out of place ; and so afraid was he that his own 
dear self would be included that he skipped out 
of the county. The pie, like the pasty, is a 
mystery until it is opened, unless the crust is 
decorated with the foot of a duck, or some other 
indication of contents. The heads of pilchards 
peeping through the crust suggested the name of 
*' star-gazey pie ; " but a stranger in the land may 
never see it — indeed, he may never see many 
things. 




Chapter XXI 



HROUGH August and down to the 
middle of September is the season 
for blackberries, and wherever 
the bramble can grow, there the 
black, luscious fruit hangs ripe 
and tempting. The Bookworm 
hazarded the guess, as we tramped along, that the 
plant followed the Celtic immigration in Cornwall 
and Brittany. The Bretons make money of the 
fruit, but here whoever is minded may pick and 
eat and carry away ; and no one was ever prose- 
cuted for wandering over fields in search of the 
fruit, and pulling down bits of hedges to secure it. 
During the season, blackberry parties go out with 



198 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

crook-sticks and baskets, and faces as clean as 
usual, and return tired and torn, with hands and 
lips and faces dyed all over with the dark juice. 
Some say it was the blackberry juice which the 
ancient inhabitants used for frightening away the 
Roman legions; but nothing positive is now 
known. It is, however, the fact that the Cornish 
dye just as much of themselves as is visible with 
blackberry juice once a year ; and this may be a 
survival of an ancient custom. Just for a wonder, 
it was neither saint nor piskie who was quoted in 
connection with blackberries, but Old Nick him- 
self, who ate so many one thirteenth of Sep- 
tember that he felt real ill, and he cursed the 
fruit with such a terrible curse that, after the fatal 
thirteenth, the fruit is said to be unfit for food, 
and is allowed to rot where it grows. 

If the blackberry isn't a native, it ought to be, 
considering the impudent way in which it takes 
possession of the hedges and fences, scrambling 
over everything, and sucking in all the sunshine 
which comes out of the sky. Anywhere, every- 
where it grows, even along the bleak sea-cliffs 
washed with sea-spray and ruffled with bitter 
winds ; but the fruit is most sweet and generous 
when growing in sheltered spots on moor and in 
valley. We were told to be sure to have black- 
berry pie, and we had it at the farm ; and if the 
immortals didn't envy us when eating blackberry 
pie, smothered with Mrs. Andrawartha's cream, 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 199 

it's proof positive that they don't know about one 
good thing in the eating line. 

The Wesleyans are especially fond of black- 
berries. Of course there's a reason for it. The 
Bookworm stumbled on it, as usual, and we went 
to the circuit minister, who said he was quite 
right, and it was the fruit which kept John 
Wesley alive on St Hilary downs. The story 
is all right, and can be verified in print. Here it 
is: "One day we had been preaching on St 
Hilary down. As we returned, John Wesley 
stopped his horse to pick the blackberries, saying, 
* Brother Nelson, we ought to be thankful that 
there are plenty of blackberries, for this is the 
best county I ever saw for getting a stomach, and 
the worst I ever saw for getting food.'" Guy 
said there ought to be a blackberry day as well 
as a primrose day. Why not } White roses and 
orchids are consecrated to other illustrious per- 
sons, and why not blackberries to John Wesley ? 

Of course the blackberry has its legend, and 
this is one as it was told to us. 

The Romance of Princess Olwen. 

The fairest princess in Cornwall, as every one 
knew, was the daughter of Bran Dhu, and it was 
the surprise of every one that his daughter should 
be so fair when he was so dark, dark as his own 
black heart; and that was dark enough, in all 



200 Cornish Saints and Sinners 



conscience. More golden was her hair than the 
flower of the furze, and her skin was whiter than 
the foam of the wave. A twin sister she had 
who favoured their father, and she was as dark 
as a thunder-cloud, and as passionate as the other 
was gentle. The twins grew up, and got on 
very well together, until the son of the king 
stopped at Bran Dhu's castle and received a cup 
of milk from the hand of the fair princess, who 
was called Olwen, when he ought to have received 
it from Gertha, she of the flashing eyes and heart 
of fire. Bran Dhu had made other arrangements 
for his fair daughter, whom he removed the very 
next day to the dwelling of a herdsman whose 
wife was a witch, and who had strict orders not 
to let the young prince see the fair princess, even 
if he should chance upon her whereabouts. It 
wasn't long before the young prince came again, 
and this time Gertha handed him a cup of milk ; 
but he had no eyes for her, and rode away. 
Whenever he came he only saw Gertha, and 
rode away disappointed, which so wounded her 
vanity that she ended by hating her sister of the 
yellow hair and sea-foam skin. The young 
prince went to his father, who commanded Bran 
Dhu to come and see him, bringing the fair 
Olwen with him. Now, Bran Dhu was a subtle 
man, and told lies as naturally as other great 
people, and he said that Olwen went on a visit in 
the country and died, and was buried by the old 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 201 

herdsman and his wife. He didn't mind telling 
where Olwen really was, because the herd's 
wife had orders to turn the fair young princess 
into a bramble whenever the king or young 
prince came in search: of her. The young prince 
was very much in love, and rode off to the herd's 
house, and the herd's wife showed him the clothes 
which Olwen had worn, and the mound covering 
her, and the bramble thick with blossom festoon-^ 
ing the hedge. He was so sorrowful that he did 
not notice that the bloom was out of season. 
He came again and again and talked to the 
herd's wife, for his heart was sore, and there was 
always the bramble in full bloom. 

Now, at the King*s court there was a " wise 
man," who smelt a rat as soon as ever he heard 
about the bramble being in bloom, in season and 
out of season, whenever the prince happened to 
be there ; so he turned the young prince into a 
chough, and told him to fly over to the herds* 
man's house and look around. The Cornish chough 
was common enough in those days, and the old 
witch took no notice of the black bird with red 
beak hopping about the garden, its head on one 
side, and one eye on Olwen the fair. 

The " wise man," when he knew that Olwen 
was really in the flesh, took in the whole situation. 

The young prince flew over to the herdsman's 
house and hopped around, and followed his lady 
love until she got into a wood, when he resumed 



202 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

his proper shape and told his love, sweet and 
strong, and stayed so late that the old witch 
caught him at it, and told Bran Dhu, who became 
as mad as a hatter, and told Gertha, who became 
madder than he. And they went over to the 
herdsman's and ordered the witch to turn Olwen 
into a bramble, and pour some magic drops upon 
her fair blooms so that she should become green 
and red and black in turns, sour to the taste, and 
ugly to look upon. 

Then the " wise man " anointed the beak of 
the chough, saying, " Fly away and kiss the 
bloom, and your love shall become sweet and 
more sweet, and when the berry is sweetest to 
your taste, pluck it and bring it to me." 

And so he did. Then the " wise man " broke 
the spell, and prince and prmcess were married ; 
but the bramble flourished and spread every- 
where, and all the people marvelled when they 
ate of it or turned it into wine, as they do to this 
day. 

And all true lovers know that sweetest is the 
love which has been hard to get, and has passed 
through its sour and bitter stages and is plucked 
when ripest 

We saw a Cornish chough during our tramp ; 
but it is getting scarce now, and tens of thousands 
of people may come and go without ever seeing 
one. When the bird "with vermeil-tinted legs 
and bright red beak " has quite vanished from its 



PRINCESS OLWEN IS CHANGED INTO A BRAMBLE. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 203 

old haunts, it will probably be held in the highest 
esteem, like it once was when it lived in the 
odour of sanctity. The chough was at one time 
a sacred bird in Cornwall, just as the long-legged 
ibis on the banks of the Nile, and, according to 
the story, had secret relations with Old Nick, 
just as its cousin, the raven, had in Wales. An 
odour of sulphur may have been the consequence ; 
but as even birds may reform, the chough cut its 
old acquaintance, and was selected as the future 
habitation for the spirit of King Arthur. When 
a Cornishman sees a chough he raises his 
hat, if he has one, or pulls his forelock if he 
hasn't, which means the same thing, namely, that 
the chough is of sainted lineage, and worthy of 
the very highest respect. It is not so easy to 
see a chough now outside of a " collection." 

The chough is of very aristocratic appear- 
ance, and, in consequence, all poor and ragamuffin 
and envious relations of the crow tribe are doing 
their best to get rid of him by any means. No 
doubt dynamite would be used if the crow 
socialists knew how to handle it. It was an 
unfortunate day for the chough when Shake- 
speare advertised it as the " russet-pated chough,'* 
and that might not have been so very bad, only 
it set some people saying that Shakespeare did 
not know what he was talking about, which 
provoked others to reply, and so the newspapers 
debated whether Shakespeare should be criticized. 



204 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

Then all Cornwall was ransacked for choughs, 
to see whether he was " russet-pated." If " pate" 
means " head," then he isn't, but if*' pate" means 
'•foot," then he is "russet-patted," or footed. 
Those who held that the poet knew what he was 
writing about, scored one ; but the discussion cost 
the chough dear, so many people finding it 
necessary to shoot every chough they saw. 
Every year King Arthur visits his own tomb 
in the form of a chough, and some people hope 
that one chough will be allowed to live in the 
land just so long as the old King likes to revisit 
his own grave and attend to its weeding. It 
would be a pity for an old tradition to die out 
for want of a bird to carry it on. 



y 



Chapter XXII 




CORNISH "van " is a miracle on 
wheels ; but we're told that the 
real, genuine article, like Pena- 
luna's, which still covers its five 
miles in one hour and a quarter, 
is getting rarer and more rare. 
Penzance and Helston, Truro and Redruth, and 
most of the market towns are visited on market 
days by newly-painted antiquities on wheels. 
They line up a street, or a square, for a few 
hours, and then disappear again until the next 
market day. The better class machine is a 
" Royal Mail," or a " Standard," a " Comet," or 
some such swagger thing ; but " Fenaluna's van" 
has a first-grade certificate in the miracle line. 
Rail and motor-cars have thinned out this ancient 
sort of vehicle pretty considerably. 



2o6 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

Mrs. Penaluna runs a refreshment house six 
miles from a market town, and Mr. Penaluna is 
the carrier by descent For three generations 
the Penalunas carried whatever there was to 
carry, and it seems that when one machine wore 
out, another was built after the same pattern, 
and then another, and another, so that Penaluna's 
van is now pretty much /the same as its pre- 
decessors, and the type has been preserved in 
spite of steam and petrol. Mr. Penaluna's van 
went to the market town twice a week, and Mr. 
Penaluna's motto was to look after his parcels, 
and let passengers take care of themselves. Our 
traps were amongst the rest of the bales and 
boxes and parcels, " stowed away " according to 
the carrier s idea of the fitness of things. We 
looked inside, and said we'd walk to the town 
later in the day. We didn't see much accommo- 
dation for passengers. We were mistaken. 
One woman after another got into the van with 
baskets of dairy produce and things, and settled 
themselves somehow. The van was canvas- 
covered, and its sides bulged, so we thought it 
must be full. We didn't understand. People 
came along with more baskets and got in, so 
Guy said they must be sticking to the roof, feet 
upwards, like flies. Every moment we expected 
to see the van come apart, and let its contents 
into the road ; but it didn't, and held together 
by force of habit, we supposed. Time was up, 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 207 

and we thought the good Mr. Penaluna would 
start, but he was in no hurry ; there was a 
regular customer to come, and she always came 
last. Somebody did come — ^a crowning glory of 
twenty stun — with a girl by her side carrying 
things. The "regular*' waddled up, and said 
it was warmish, and hands were spread out to 
take in things and help the lady when she was 
ready, and Mr. Penaluna was behind to give 
a helpful push. The lady with liberal breadth 
of beam and no featherweight disappeared, inch 
by inch, and we stood by expecting to hear 
shrieks from the inside victims. Only nothing 
of the sort happened, and Mr. Penaluna closed 
the door with a bang and the proud air of a 
railway porter, and the living purgatory on 
wheels waltzed away. Mr. Penaluna got up on 
a swinging knifeboard, and cracked his whip 
in a professional way about the ears of the wiry 
pair of horses in front 

Guy asked Mrs. Penaluna whether she 
thought that the women inside would come out 
alive ? which seemed to amuse her. She said 
Penaluna might hap to pick up one or two more 
on the road. "There's always room for one 
more in Penaluna's van," said she, with a grand 
sweep of the arm, indicating that a good slice 
of creation might be carried to market twice a 
week, and no mistake about it. 

The Bookworm was under a promise not to 



2o8 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

go past the first milestone, but to sit on it, and 
wait until we overtook him. Guy said we 
needn't hurry, as he saw him sneak a book into 
his pocket, and he wouldn't know how the time 
passed until the sun went down. 

" If the little beggar can lose himself, he will," 
said Guy, jumping on a hedge and looking round. 
Then he shouted " Coo-e-e-e-y ! " and an answer 
came a few yards off, where the Bookworm was 
sitting on a heap of stones chatting to a man 
with his sleeves turned up, and who was the 
parish stonebreaker. This Mr. Stonebreaker 
worked in a disused quarry, wherein he was 
sheltered from all winds, and had for company 
a sleek-looking donkey, which he rode to and 
fro morning and evening. The Bookworm 
struck the place just about luncheon-time. The 
man had taken off his wire goggles, pulled out 
his pasty, and the donkey's head rested on his 
shoulder, waiting for the two ends of the pasty 
to be put into its mouth. Mr. Stonebreaker 
rolled up his jacket for the Bookworm to sit on, 
and offered him a bit of pasty; and when we 
joined the party of three, they made a very 
pretty picture. The man was a droll fellow and 
set the Bookworm laughing, and the animal 
joined in in its very best style. The Book- 
worm rose and shook hands with his newly-found 
friend. 

" Wasting the poor devil's time, and never 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 209 

tipped him, I'll bet," said Guy, with an air of 
disgust 

" I couldn't," replied the Bookworm, the idea 
that Guy thought him mean creeping over him. 
" The man treated me as an equal, and played 
the host, and how could I tip him ? " 

'*You have sold the good name of every 
tourist for evermore," said Guy, hastily; and 
before we knew what he was up to, he bolted 
back to the old quarry, 

'' Catch ! " shouted he, spinning a coin towards 
the man. 

"Thank'ee kindly, but what be un vur ? " 

Then Guy made a speech, and the man 
laughed, and returned the coin, without any sign 
of displeasure. 

" I'll be hanged if a coin ever came back to 
me in this way before. I shall keep it for luck," 
said Guy. 

" Ef you bain't in a hurry I'll tell 'ee a story," 
said the man, as leisurely as though he were lord 
of the manor. 

" I shall be taking up your valuable time," said 
Guy. 

" Never mind me : we can afford it, caan't us, 
old 'un ? " (stroking the donkey's head). " Us can 
al'ys find time when we do work by the day." 
Then he began. 

"You doan't know our Passun, s'poase? Well, 
then, tedn't 'bout he, but the wan avoor, who had 

p 



2IO Cornish Saints and Sinners 

a purty field ov corn wan year, sure 'nuff, and 
he hired Jim Tredinnick to come over and drash 
un. Now, Passun was writing es sarmon, and 
could heer Jim's drashal going wan, du, dre, like 
a church bell tolling for a burying. ' This will 
never do/ saith Passun to hisself, and down he 
goes to the barn, and Jim was there making 
believe to sweat a leak, and the ould drashal was 
going wan, du, dre, like the church belL * The 
man'U eat up the vally of the corn in the drash- 
ing ov it,' said Passun, as he went back to his 
room. Now, whether Passun failed asleep, or 
dramed weth his eyes wide open, or whether it 
was rale, I dunno, but the piskie that used to 
belong to the place stood avoor him weth es 
drashdals over his shoulder. Now Passun wasn't 
proud, and telled him about Jim Tredinnick, how 
he was hired by the day and his meat to drash 
the corn in the barn, and * I shall be ate out ov 
house and home,' said Passun, ' he is that slow.' 

'* Then the little man laughed, and took the 
drashels off his shoulders, and began to beat on 
the floor, stroke by stroke with Jim Tredinnick in 
the bam, and he made a tune ov it, like this : 
*By the day, by the day, by the day-day-day. 
By the day, by the day, by the day-day-day.* 
'Twas slow music, sure; but 'twas what Jim 
Tredinnick was making in the barn. Then the 
little man changed it, and worked his drashels 
lively, and the tune he made was like this : ' By 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 211 

the job, by the job, by the job-job-job ; by the 
job, by the job, by the job,' as quick as you 
plaise. Then Passun rubbed es eyes, and went 
over to the barn, and made a fresh bargain with 
Jim Tredinnick, and his com was oal drashed 
that very night." 

" Well ? " said Guy, interrogatively. 

" If I had been breaking these stones by the 
job you wouldn't have heard this story," said the 
man, with a humorous twist of his mouth. 

"YouVe a genius," said Guy, shying a 
shilling at him, and running away at top speed. 

" The fellow is a millionaire," said Guy, 
overtaking us. '' I shall never be able to say I 
haven't met a rich man. I had to shy the coin 
at him, and I don't know now whether he'll 
trouble to pick it up." 

'' He's a gentleman, and his donkey knows 
it," said the Bookworm ; and it was his last word 
on the subject 



Chapter XXIII 



THREE occupations are followed — 
farming, mining, and fishing, but 
the Cornish are a handy race, 
and it is not an uncommon thing 
for a man to cultivate a farm, 
work in a mine, and fish in the 
sea. A " wheelbarrow farm " is a small holding 
which a man may get along with, with the assist- 
ance of a wheelbarrow, and is common enough in 
the mining districts. When a mine is near the 
sea, the wheelbarrow farmer has a boat, and puts 
in time fishing when not underground. There 
are no factories, as understood elsewhere, and if 
you see smoke afar off, it's just some farmer 
burning weeds, or a railway engine puffing along. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 213 

There's never smoke enough in any one place to 
soil a butterfly's wing, and some medical men 
have already made note of the fact 

In ike mining district people talk tin and 
copper, and dream about little else, though it's 
tin for choice. Redruth is the reputed head- 
quarters of the tin worship. When we reached 
the town, everybody seemed to be in the street, 
talking at once. We thought some great calamity 
had happened, but found out that it was only the 
usual when men came in from Camborne, and 
round about. There is an inner temple, called 
an Exchange, but most of the exchanging seems 
to be done in the street. Men talk together, and 
then out come little note-books. It looks like 
street-betting, but the policeman takes no notice, 
so, of course, it's something else. Millions sterling 
have changed hands in this way, and in this 
street, but we were told that times were dull 
now. People were lively enough, and whether 
they win or lose, they go on talking and dreaming 
of tin. 

It has been a wonderful land, this, and the 
stories told of fortunes made in tin and copper 
give fairy tales a back seat ; but then, for every 
fortune made, a fortune is lost ; and the way to 
get ten shillings worth of tin is to melt twenty 
shillings worth of gold, we were told. Of course, 
there's the other side, but we hadn't time to go 
into it — it was too much like fiscal politics. 



214 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

The people about here are prosperous to 
look at, but we were told that they were ruined 
regularly once a week or fortnight, as the case 
may be. Strangers may make mistakes when 
they see ruined people for the first time, but they 
get to know that when a tin man looks most 
prosperous, he's most ruined. A copper man 
may be afflicted in the same way, but tin was 
uppermost when we were in the place. 

The great men in these parts are captains — 
mine captains. A Newmarket horse-trainer and 
jockey combined is not more looked up to on the 
heath than a mine captain here. He is the man 
who knows^ and can put a friend on to a good 
thing ; people always think a mine captain has a 
good thing up his sleeve, and you must be civil 
to him, to make him shake it out. They are 
modest men, however, and live in small houses to 
check any tendency to pride, and on Sundays 
Cap'n Jack and Cap'n Jose, and the best samples, 
go preaching. The kingdom of heaven is very 
much like a mine to a miner, and if she "cuts 
rich " he wants to be there. 

A mine is " she," and has many wooers when 
rich, or reputed to have great expectations. 
Mines in these parts are also feminine in the 
coquettish way in which they show just sufficient 
of their attractions at one time to lure men on 
and on, and then — nothing! The caprices of a 
season's beauty are not greater than those of 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 215 

a mine, nor is the condition of a Derby favourite 
more closely watched and canvassed. A mine 
may look well, or be in a bad way, and all the 
men crowd around Wheal This and Wheal That 
as though her breath were perfumed, and then 
turn their backs upon her when old age and 
wrinkles come, and her "eyes are picked out," 
and she's neglected, and left to grow dropsical, 
and pass from memory. Sometimes a pet Wheal 
over-runs the constable, and ruins all her lovers, 
and then no secret is made of her wicked little 
ways; but no professional beauty is more run 
after and talked about when she*s in her prime. 

Guy was relieved to find that the Gulf Stream 
was not held responsible for tin. We had heard 
so much of the Gulf Stream, how it made the 
'taties grow, and the flowers bloom, and the air 
warm, and the wind cool, and the skies blue, and 
the rain wet ; but no one here said it had any- 
thing to do with the making of tin. You may 
stream for tin, but that is only one way of getting 
it; and the Gulf Stream doesn't come in, and 
there are tin crystals in streams, but this is a 
detail known mostly to natives. 

Miners call themselves "Cousin Jacks," and 
a Cornish miner in any part of the universe 
answers to "Cousin Jack." The Bookworm 
tried to find the origin of the name from a man 
"tending the engine" at a mine, who replied, 
"S'poase Adam gave it out when he named 



2i6 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

t'other animals/' This was a good beginning. 
The men change their clothes in the engine- 
room ; they call it " shifting," and a shift is worth 
the trouble, for a miner coming up from the 
bowels of the earth with a bit of tallow candle in 
his cap looks a clay-gnome of bad character, and 
gentle manners only increase prejudice, for why 
should such a forbidding-looking animal be 
gentle ? » 

He was not in the least surprised to see us, 
but when he had shifted, we were surprised to 
see him. He was no longer gnome, but man, 
and good at that. Was there anything we would 
like to see or hear about? He was entirely at 
our disposal. He showed us crystals of pure 
tin, colourless, and flashing like diamonds. He 
supposed that tin might be manufactured the 
same as diamonds, but wasn't sure, and thought 
that Nature must have taken a lot of trouble 
when making tin. Would not be surprised if the 
pressure of the two seas had much to do with it 
It was very singular that Cornwall was the 
richest spot in the universe in tin stone. There 
was plenty of tin elsewhere, but not Cornish 
tin, oh, dear, no I Tin was known in the days 
of Moses, and where could it have come from 
but here? As a commercial commodity, tin 
certainly first came from Cornwall, and so, first of 
all, brought Britain under the influence of the 
older civilizations. Caesar no more discovered 



THE CHAPEL ROCK, BUDE. 



h 
e 
t 
I 

> 



I 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 217 

Britain than Columbus America, and Cornish 
miners were gentlemen in manners, and hos- 
pitable in the days of Diodorus Siculus^ who 
attributed their advance in civilization to their 
frequent intercourse with Greeks and Phoenicians. 
It was oh record that a Phoenician merchant, 
finding that he was followed, ran his ship ashore 
rather than let another into the secret of getting 
tin. Mr. Chamberlain could have done no better, 
could he ? 

Mining was a science now, more or less exact, 
and very exacting. We were in the centre of a 
great school of mines, and students came here 
from all parts to learn their business and get 
diplomas. He told us something of superstitions 
common to miners. Science explains everything, 
of course ; but can't get rid of old beliefs in a 
hurry. A mine's reputation was sometimes her 
weak point, just like a fine lady's, and when it 
was blown upon, then, good-day and good-bye ! 
Get a chat, when you can, with an underground 
mine captain. 

South Africa is a sort of outlying farm for 
the mining division, and when things are brisk 
every mail brings twenty or thirty thousand 
pounds sterling for wives and families and the 
old folks at home. Every market night is an 
object-lesson in political economy. When the 
Boer War was on, most of the shops were in 
mourning, and people went about with hunger in 



2i8 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

their eyes. Cousin Jack goes abroad to make 
money, and what lie saves he sends home. On 
his return his delight is to get a wheelbarrow 
farm, and come into Redruth market, and talk 
tin. Cousin Jack likes to come home to die and 
be buried. He's like a Chinaman in his love for 
native dust. 

Some Cornishmen live where they are born, 
but, as a rule, they drift to all quarters of the 
world, and look longingly homewards, like the 
Jew towards Jerusalem. The most conservative 
of all men is the fisher, whose little all can be put 
on board his boat, and who is seldom far from 
the smoke of his own chimney. The miners are 
restless, and always ready to strike their tent 
and march. Only, wherever they go overseas, 
their children are Cornish — the saints and piskies, 
the nuggies and buccas, are all drummed into 
them, and there's no sun so bright, no sea so 
blue, no air so soft in all the world, as in the dear 
old county which they " belong " to, and shall see 
one day. There spring up melodies in the little 
hearts over the seas, until they are Cornish in 
every beat and throb. A youngster was posting 
a letter in Sydney, New South Wales, and a 
friend of the family asked, " Where's that letter 
going, sonnie ? " " Home." " Where's home ? " 
** Why, Cornwall, to be sure." * Outside of itself 

* I believe this story was told by the Rev. Mark Guy Pearse ; 
if not, it might have been, it's so like him. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 219 

the county has a large population containing a 
goodly percentage of the salt of the earth. 

Redruth is under the shadow of Carn Brea, 
the home of paleolithic man. The " Castle " 
doesn't count for much now the Druids have been 
played out The Bookworm told us that enough 
rubbish had been written about the Druids to 
build a respectable beacon fire, and what was 
worth preserving would go in a watch-pocket. 
However, there is Carn Brea, and those who 
wish to see the Druids* altars may, without let or 
hindrance. The Carn looks over the mines, and 
you may see the sea on the north and the sea on 
the south, winking like two eyes of heavenly 
blue. The guide-books recommend a clear day 
for preference. It is said that underneath this 
bare and poverty-looking ridge of rocks there is 
mineral wealth enough to buy up King Solomon's 
mines. It's nice to know that the riches of the 
world are under one's feet, and all poor people 
on the tramp who like the sensation can have it 
here free of charge. In fact, there is no charge 
for anything — you may drink at the holy wells, 
visit the churches, see the antiquities, go down 
the mines, walk through museums, and ^Mo" 
everything with a smile and a civil tongue. No 
charge ; tip as you please. A cheerful giver has 
his reward. 

It was somewhere under the shadow of Carn 
Brea that ^' Baron Munchausen " was born in the 



220 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

lively brain of one Rudolph Eric Rasp, a fugitive 
Hanoverian, at one time Assay-master and store- 
keeper at Dolcoath Mine. Herr Rasp, Professor 
of Archaeology, and Curator of the Museum at 
Cassel, and member of the Royal Society, 
England, appropriated some precious medals 
under his charge, and skipped. He hadn't learnt 
the tenth commandment properly, and forgot the 
eighth. People in places of trust are better 
educated now, but this was one hundred and fifty 
years ago. The Bookworm told us that Baron 
Munchausen was a real man, and Herr Rasp 
wrote his wonderful "adventures." No one 
knows the house in which Herr Rasp lived, but 
the Bookworm insisted on looking at every cot- 
tage and barn with the touch of antiquity upon 
it, within a radius of three miles from Dolcoath. 
He liked to do it, and was satisfied. The inven- 
tion of coal gas as an illuminant took place at 
Redruth, and a tablet commemorating the dis- 
covery is actually placed outside the house in 
which William Murdoch, the inventor, lived. 
Murdoch was not a Cornishman, hence the tablet 
The Bookworm touched the walls of the house, 
the door-handle, and the knocker, but we didn't 
see that anything special came of it. Camborne 
is also in the mining division, and has wider 
streets and fewer shops than Redruth ; but, then, 
it has gone in for brains, and young men wishful 
to learn mining come here now, and go through 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 221 

a course of lectures in class-rooms, and go under- 
ground and work. " The Oxford of mining 
students" is Camborne, only the students live 
where they like, and have latch-keys, Joshua 
Cristall was born here, so also was Richard 
Trevithick, the first to apply steam to loco- 
motives. We did not see any public monument 
to either. 

The people in this division are "Weslums," 
and great on chapels, but " fall from grace " when 
there is a political election. It is sad, but politics 
stir up the old Adam worse than a drop in the 
price of tin. Candidates for parliamentary honours 
are only accepted by insurance offices at extra- 
risk premiums. Guy intends going in for Parlia- 
ment one day, and studied the matter on the 
spot. He thinks he knows a softer place. 

A good deal of woman-labour is employed in 
mines. They are the bal-maidens, and work on 
the dressing-floors. Work agrees with them, and 
Professor Sandow wouldn't find much room for 
developing the muscles of a bal-maiden. We 
saw some at work from the train, and heard them 
singing. We saw others nearer, and they were 
singing also. It's just part of the business to 
sing, and more hymns are sung over Cornish tin 
than over all the rest of the minerals raised in the 
world. One girl starts singing, and the rest join 
in ; and very sweet singing it is when heard in 
the open. The surface men catch on, and there's 



222 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

just sweet harmony, whilst the stamps are 
dancing, and the great bob is going up and down, 
pumping out water. Nothing stops when the 
orchestra is in full swing. The men generally 
sing, too, when going and coming, and they like 
a hymn with a good, rousing march tune. After 
the night and early morning shifts, the htlls and 
valleys are tuneful, and people hearing know 
what hour it is, as the shifts are regular. There 
are four shifts in the twenty-four hours. A shift 
is called a "coor." 




:<.^ 



7^ 



KmcK-gb MIS 



Chapter XXIV 



"jHE man in soft felt hat, and brown 
canvas bag slung across his side, 
with wicked-looking little ham- 
mer-head peeping out, is a com- 
mon object. Specimens enough 
have been taken out of the county 
to metal a turnpike road, and yet the scientific 
stone-man comes and tumbles over the refuse- 
heaps once again, and chips little bits on his own 
account, and carries them off. To find sermons 
in stones is his reward, and there are sermons 
enough, in all conscience, in a county which is 
mostly stone, or something harder. When a man 
of science in a soft felt hat is missing, the first 
idea is that he's fallen down an old mine shaft, 
and that his stone treasures have taken him 
safely to the bottom, a hundred fathoms or so 
under water. It is well to beware of one's steps. 



224 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

and not to take short cuts in the dark across 
moors and downs which are honeycombed. 

We were told we might amuse ourselves by 
turning over the rubbish-heaps, and, for reward, 
pick up a few specimens of ore, — no one would 
interfere with us ; and we might wander at will in 
and about the ruins of square towers and '* count- 
houses," which people fancy, at first sight, are 
baronial castles in ruins. They are ruins, right 
enough, and the money sunk in the engine shafts 
would have built castles and pyramids. These 
ruins look best at a distance, with big bundles of 
broom shivering and rotting in sunshine and 
storm. There is something weird and uncanny 
about the look of these ruins, with broom-bundles, 
like black things of misfortune, hung about them. 
The Bookworm said that broom was a sign or 
symbol of bad luck. We didn't find fortunes in 
turning over stones on rubble-heaps, and only 
secured a few tin and mundic and copper speci- 
mens of no value to the owner. Guy said they 
would look swagger when labelled, " Tin found 
on Scatmoor, Cornwall." The beginnings of a 
museum were in his pockets, he said, when they 
began to bulge out. 

There were some small houses scattered 
about, and every house was in a garden. None 
were empty ; but as all the mines around were 
idle, we began to wonder what the population 
lived on. There must be work somewhere, but 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 225 

a long way off, we thought ; so far, indeed, that 
the men would tire morning and night when 
going and coming. The houses were low, two- 
storied dwellings, built of moor-stone, and roofed 
with thick turves kept in place by flat, heavy 
stones. The people we saw were mostly aged, 
or women with young children. 

We came across an old fellow sitting on a big 
stone, blinking with watery eyes at an old ruined 
mine engine-house. He made us welcome, and 
ofiered us the whole of the stone he was sitting 
on; but we squatted on the turf, and let the 
green lizards run over us — ^we said we liked it 
like that. Very soon we were interested in the 
old boy, who told us he was Jim Tregedga, the 
son of Jim Tregedga before him, and he cited 
Tregedgas sufficient to reach back to the days of 
the Deluge. The house he lived in he built 
himself "out of coor," that is to say, in spare 
time, and he fenced in the bit of garden, ditto. 
It was moor land, and no one said him nay, so he 
took what he wanted, and the rest did the same. 
All the houses were built like that, and every 
man his own landlord. All the mines around 
were working then, and at every shift hundreds 
of young men poured out of these stone hives 
and went to work underground or upon " grass.'' 
And all the maidens rose early and went to work 
upon the dressing-floors, singing like thrushes. 
The mine was the soul of the moor, and the 

Q 



226 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

pumps and stamps its music. The young men 
now are spread over South Africa and Australia, 
South America and the regions of Klondike; 
and the old people and young wives and children 
were left at home, dependent for daily bread 
upon the love of kindred whom they might never 
see again. 

Things were so different in the old days, 
when Cousin Jack was full of money, and spent 
it like a king, and then went to work again with 
a good heart, and always ready to kiss the 
maidens, or " wrassle " and break a head on pay- 
days. In fact, Cousin Jack wouldn't go home 
without a fight, unless he was poorly. This old 
man knew the names of all the mines round 
about, and their histories ; when they " cut rich," 
and when they " cut out " and were shut down, 
and the broom hoisted to tell all the world that 
another bal had gone wrong. 

Every mine had its own particular spirit, 
or family of spirits, called *'nuggies." Every 
household was brought up in a firm faith in 
nuggies, and the good or bad fortune of a mine 
depended on the temper of the nuggies. Men 
working on "tribute" were very careful not to 
offend the spirits of the mine, and they had to be 
careful, or they would earn little, and were some- 
times lucky to reach grass alive. These spirits 
had underground workshops, wherein they worked 
upon silver anvils, and the walls sparkled with 



MORWENSTOW CLIFFS. 



] 



■ 

[ 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 227 

crystals of pure tin and virgin silver. These 
workshops were called *^ parlours/' and, as they 
were not always willing to be disturbed, they 
misled the miners, making them believe that the 
tinkling upon the silver anvils was in the very 
opposite direction: — such was their power. Or 
they would cease working altogether, and then 
the men would become disheartened, and say the 
nuggies had forsook the bal, and she might as 
well be ** knacked " at once, for all the profit she 
would yield. But the nuggies were good to poor 
tributers sometimes, after they had been working 
for weeks and months on starvation wages. 
Months and months of work and no sound 
through the gloomy corridors but the tap, tap, 
of the steel-edged tools, and the fall of rock, 
barren and unprofitable ; and then, all at once, 
the music on the silver anvils^ and falling water, 
indicating the presence of the precious lode. If 
a man worked underground he was bound to 
believe in nuggies ; and if he did not believe, and 
said so, then he was sure to be punished, for the 
nuggies had a way of leading men into trouble. 
A favourite way was to hide danger from a man 
until he was on the brink of it, and then, if 
stubborn and would not take warning, they'd let 
him fall over a precipice, or down an old shaft, 
and be heard of no more in the land of the living. 
What they gave, they gave freely, and took no 
toll — ^they wanted none, all the minerals in the 



228 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

universe belonging to the nuggie family; only 
they would have men civil, and civility brought 
rich rewards. 

The talk was rambling, and Guy put many 
questions. Had deponent ever seen a nuggie? 
Well, he believed he had. He was working on 
Wheal Rose, first coor by night, and he saw a 
flash at the end of the stope, and Jan Trebilcock 
slapped his hand over his (deponent's) mouth so 
that he shouldn't screech. That was a nuggie 
going into his parlour, and Jan Trebilcock 
followed the lead and came upon a lode as rich 
as King Solomon's mines whilst it lasted. And 
he'd heard old men say 

But Guy wouldn't have hearsay. Then de- 
ponent said he had heard the tinkling upon silver 
anvils, and beautiful it was, like the melody of 
church bells on a summer eve. The nuggies 
always took their anvils with them when they 
gave up possession of a workshop — they were 
wanted elsewhere. 

" Provoking," said Guy. *' Whenever we get 
very near to something it vanishes in this land of 
piskies and fairies and other enchantments." 

A little lizard crawling over Guy turned 
brilliant colours, which, the old miner observing, 
said there was a '' thunder planet " passing, and 
wished us to come into his cottage. We had 
wandered five miles, but thought we could return 
before the storm burst, in which, however, we 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 229 

were mistaken, for we had hardly trotted a couple 
of miles when it burst with sub-tropical fury. 
Had it been night, the sight would have been 
splendid; but we had to dart for cover into a 
man's house, like three drowned rats. There was 
no ceremony about our entrance, and none was 
wanted. An old man and woman were the only 
occupants, and they made us welcome, but our 
clothes stuck to us. We drank some hot tea and 
ate the remains of our pasties to the accompani- 
ment of celestial artillery, which put to shame the 
battle of Mukden. Still it poured, and the 
cottage trembled sometimes when the thunder 
was loudest. The two old people were quite 
tranquil, and the only apparent trouble they had 
in the world was our wet clothes. The little 
rivulets which ran from us were dried up, but 
might be traced on the stone floor, making zig-zag 
courses towards the door. 

Then came the old man's hour for reading a 
Psalm, and he opened the "big book" without 
any apparent thought of strangers being present. 

" * Th' Loard es ma sheper ; I shall not waant ' 
— no fath, I shaant 

'* ' He maaketh me to lie down en green 
pastures ' — ez, that 'e do, th' precious dear." 

And so, until he finished, and shut the book. 
" Now we will zay a few words, for th' dear 
Loard is with us ; " and without more to do, he 
went down upon his knees and spread out his hands, 



230 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

and his face shone. If there was a soul in happi- 
ness in the universe, it was this one ; and he did 
not forget the strangers under his roof. " Ef 'm 
be out in th' wilderness, Loard, guide'm like a 
good sheper; and efm be cauld, warm 'em en 
Thy buzum, and turn 'em out to lie down en 
green pastures." 

The rain stopped suddenly, and the thunder 
grew more distant, and the lightning less vivid, 
and when we were once more upon the downs 
a strange feeling crept over us. 

" I never thought I should have found myself 
kneeling in a miner's hut, saying my prayers,'' 
said Guy. " This would just have suited Softie 
Smith, who's in Orders now — agoing to be a 
bishop, or something. At school. Softie was 
always longer at his devotions than the rest, and 
we used to shy things at him to remind him that 
the dormitory was waiting. Sometimes the boys 
made extra good shots at Softie and got him 
waxy ; and one night he suddenly rose from his 
knees, shouting, * Amen-who-shied-that-boot } ' 
It was a shout, by Jove I and the captain on his 
rounds heard it ; but we were little angels when 
he came to us, and Softie got a wigging for 
making a row. After that we dropped the 
'Softie,' and re-named him * Amen-who-shied- 
that-boot ? ' which will sound splendidly when he's 
a bishop. ' My lord Amen-who-shied«that-boot, 
from Lower Egypt, then addressed the meeting,' 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 231 

will look well in the papers. The name'U push 
him on in the world, and that he'll owe to us/' 

The Bookworm wouldn't be drawn, and we 
walked, one on each side of him, until we reached 
the road, and then kept to it carefully, to avoid 
tumbling down some old, disused mine shaft. 
He gave our hands an extra grip before retiring, 
saying, " I shall never forget." 

*' I hope the little beggar isn't going to be ill," 
said Guy. '^ I don't like a fellow to talk solemnly, 
and grip your hands, and all that, after he's been 
wet to the skin." 

But no harm came of it. 



^-'=^^S^^^ypt 



K^9.clti 



U--7 



Chapter XXV 



PICK and shovel brigade, with or 
without hats, might do some 
good work on the north coasfv 
where the sand has buried towns 
and churches. People speak of 
places having been "drowned in 
sand " which they certainly were. The sands of 
Hayle, like those of great deserts, shift with 
storm and tempest, and have encroached from 
century to century. The sand-hills are called 
"towans" at Hayle, and very weary walking we 
found it in places where coarse, fibrous grasses 
have not covered the surface. What splendid 
results might follow the efforts of a pick and 
shovel brigade from Perran to Newquay ! Two 
churches are known to have been buried at Per- 
ranporth, and one at Gwithian, near Hayle. 
333 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 233 

These have been discovered, so there is no 
mistake about them, and they are said to be 
the earliest Christian monuments visible in 
Britain. There isn't much to see now. There 
was an oratory at St. Gwithian, and the altar 
was built into a cowshed. Guy said it did not 
seem that people cared very much for antiquities 
until they were destroyed, or belonged to some 
other country, like Egypt, for example. 

The fine, dry sands here are splendid pre- 
servatives, and the Bookworm became enamoured 
of his idea of a pick and shovel brigade under- 
taking scientific exploration. Why not ? There 
were exploration societies in Italy and Greece, 
and why not in Cornwall, wherein there is a lost 
history and a lost language to recover? Guy 
was sure that lots of fellows would put in a few 
weeks' digging and sifting and sorting if some- 
body would only take the matter in hand in a 
business-like way. If legend can be believed, 
there is at Crantock a Cornish Pompeii waiting 
to be uncovered. The ancient Crantock was re- 
puted to have been a large and important sea-port 
with seven churches, and the place was literally 
"drowned" in a deluge of sand, brought upon 
the wings of the wind. The buried chronicles of 
Crantock (all in the Cornish language, of course) 
would be a splendid discovery. The present 
church was allowed to fall into decay, but is one 
of the show-churches in the north, and is now 



234 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

famous for the newspaper crusade against hatless 
women fingering their prayer-books within its 
walls. The " living " is said to be worth eighteen 
shillings per week. Fat livings do not abound — 
" a house, a glebe, a pound a day " does not fall 
to the lot of all parsons hereabout. 

The Bookworm remarked that his Satanic 
Majesty was not held responsible for sand-storms, 
although HelFs mouth was on this coast. His 
Majesty is familiarly known as " Old Artful ; " 
and people speak of one another as " artful " by 
way of compliment. There is at present a good 
deal of confusion in the stories told about Old 
Artful and his doings in this part of the world. 
It is said that he never crossed the Tamar, and 
the question may only be answered satisfactorily 
when spirits are summoned from the vasty deep 
and examined before a royal commission. The 
Bookworm took the matter in hand, with the 
following results in favour of Old ArtfuFs 
presence : — 

When the Phoenicians traded here for tin, 
Old Artful set up a smelting-house, and taught 
the tinners some tricks, which they afterwards 
improved on. 

That St. Michael drove him away, and, out of 
pure spite, he cursed the blackberry, which is not 
now eaten after St. Michael's Day. 

That when visiting " Cheese- wring " he saw 
an old woman making a conger pie, and inquired 



" One day the devil, having nothing to do, 
Built a great hedge from Lerrin lo Looe." 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 235 

irhat she put inside, and the old woman, smelling 
)rimstone, said, "If you don't take yourself off 
Dretty quick. Til clap you inside, and then we 
ihall have a devilled pie," which threat so alarmed 
him that he gave a hop, skip, and jump, and 
landed at Devil's Point in the sister county. 

That Old Artful had a turn for housekeeping, 
and was pretty much at home at the Lizard, and 
left behind as memorials his ''frying-pan" at 
Cadgwith and his " bellows " at Kynance. Then 
he had a post-office, the earliest on record, and 
no end of "devil's footsteps," "ovens," and 
" caves " are to be found in the peninsula. 

That Old Artful, finding himself lonely and 
amongst the out-of-works, built a stone fence 
about seven miles in length, hence the couplet — 

'' One day the devil, having nothing to do, 
Built a great hedge from Lenin to Looe." 

And very good workmanship it was, for it is 
still there. In this way the problem of employing 
the unemployed was solved. 

That Old Artful took a great interest in the 
building of churches, sometimes altering the 
architect's plans, and sometimes choosing a site. 
Whenever a church b built in an inconvenient 
place, it is said that Old Artful would have it 
there and nowhere else, and paintings on the 
walls often recorded the fact, showing him re- 
moving at night the courses which the masons 



236 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

laid down during the day. Many of these paint- 
ings were whitewashed by pious Covenanters, 
but little bits have been restored. It is said that 
St. Mewan wanted a high tower to his church, 
and there was a battle-royal between him and 
Old Artful, who prevailed. The ''cloven hoof" 
may be seen on a stone gate-post, a very short 
distance from the church. At Towednack, near 
St. Ives, Old Artful would not allow pinnacles 
to be put to the church tower. 

That at Ladock Old Artful changed himself 
into a raven, and made an inspection of the 
church tower; but the babies brought to be 
christened made such a row that he flew 
away. 

" How can all these things have happened if 
Old Artful never crossed the Tamar?" asked 
the Bookworm, triumphantly. 

Sailors say that Old Artful was never able 
to learn navigation properly, or find his sea-legs 
on board ship ; and there is an idea that he does 
not take kindly to blue water, and was never 
able to swim. It is well known that Lloyd's 
underwriters will not insure a ship with Old Artful 
on board. He never interferes with the building 
of a ship, or does anything but provide a " locker " 
— called " Davy Jones's locker " — ^where poor 
Jack rigs himself out before dancing with the 
mermaids on " Fiddlers' Green." 

Guy came to the conclusion that the Cornish 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 237 

climate was too restful for " Sabbathless, restless 
Satan," who is never supposed elsewhere to be 
happy except in the wearing, tearing, raging, 
whirligig of pleasure and vice. Hence the idea 
of his not crossing the Tamar. 



Chapter XXVI 



EWQUAY is in Cornwall without 
being Cornish, and is one of the 
few towns which has no " saint " 
belonging to it. Most of the 
towns in the peninsula date back 
to the days of saints and giants, 
and then crystallize somehow. Newquay didn't 
grow that way, and was content to remain until 
quite recently the habitation of a score of fisher 
families, who lived by beach-combing and 
pilchard-seining. If the town of to-day were 
wiped out, there would remain the old fish- 
cellars, a few weather-beaten cottages, and the 
" Huer's hut" on the Headland. Newquay town 
is a modem creation, and lies between Padstow 
and St. Ives, which are rich in saints and 
338 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 239 

antiquities, and stand apart and distinct from 
everything modern, crystallizing around and 
about, but receiving little of the old life and 
tones. The original name of the place was 
Towan Blistra, which sounds genuine. The 
growth of Newquay is no miracle. People who 
went there for their health got better, and then 
the " faculty " said, " Try Newquay ; " then the 
Great Western Railway took up the cry, and 
shouted, " Try Newquay ; " and that's all the 
process. 

The sea and rocks, and sands and caves, are 
all genuine. The fine hotels are fine hotels, and 
fine hotels after their style are new in this part 
of the world. The houses have a hurried, built- 
by-contract look about them, and the whole 
place wants to be built over again, and built 
differently. Most of the inhabitants now are 
Cornish in a transition state, so you don't know 
quite where you are. The hotel porter was 
regal ; the man in charge of the lift was imported 
with the machine, and when asked, said he 
thought a ''piskie" was a new crank, or some- 
thing like that, for working the lift Newquay 
is like that now. You go there for the air, and 
you get it until every nerve is braced, and you 
get rid of the dismals, and eat and drink and 
sleep, until you find that the one pleasure of life 
is living, simply that. Even Cornish people 
come to Newquay to be toned. The Bookworm 



240 Cornish Saints and Sinners 



lost his restlessness at night entirely here, and 
no longer read strange books in his sleep. 

If you want to talk with a real Newquay 
man, you will find him on the Headland, looking 
at the sea. We scraped acquaintance with one 
watching his nets dry on the grass. He told 
us he hadn't heard about piskies lately. When 
he was a boy, and fish was cured in the old 
cellars, and the Headland was the Headland, 
and no mistake about it, and when a fisherman 
was a fisherman, and everything was as it ought 
to be, and had been from time " back along,'* 
why, then, there were piskies, of course. Every- 
thing was different now, and he would not be 
surprised if piskies were never heard of any 
more. Guy said gently that that might be a 
good thing, but the man ironed out all intelli- 
gence from his face and said nothing. He did 
not wish to have old memories stirred just then. 

The old men wandering about the Headland 
always looked seaward when talked to, as though 
they were sure of the sea, and the rocks, and the 
beaches ; all else, round and about, was slipping 
from them — new houses, new streets, crowds of 
people in strange garments, and such faces I 
worn and wisht 1 why did they pitch upon this 
place ? Guy said these old grumblers were very 
ungrateful. A fine town had sprung up, money 
poured into the place, and nothing was taken 
from it, and the old boys were not thankful. 



1 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 241 



The Bookworm took the side of the native, and 
said no one liked the place which he called his 
own, and had grown to love, to be transformed 
by strange hands so suddenly. What did the 
ancient Briton think of the Roman villa with 
tesselated floors, and hot and cold baths, and 
clothes mended on the while-you-wait system ? 
Much better, no doubt, than British huts and 
blue paint, but not to the native taste. A diet 
of Chablis and oysters disagreed at first with a 
stomach used to whelks and gingerbeen 

Variety is one of the attractions of the county. 
For a tourist who rides a bike or a motor, the 
variety is perpetual, and he must pull up even 
now and again and ask himself what has become 
of the last sensation. If you can rely upon 
your legs, you had best walk from village to 
village until you are where you wish to be. To 
lose one's self is an advantage sometimes ; and 
you can't go very far wrong. When at New- 
quay, breathing in the Atlantic on the north, 
you are only twenty miles from your friends 
breathing in the soft airs of the sunny south. 
The tramp across the country, from north to 
south, is simply delicious. First of all, there are 
the moors, springy to the foot, restful to the 
eye, and the " coombes " running seawards and 
catching sunbeams, so that you get opposing 
lines of light and shadow, and charm everywhere. 

We made our way from Newquay to Roche, 

R 



242 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

one of the portals to the land of the white men 
— 3, wonderful land, producing the white clay 
which is shipped to all quarters of the globe. 
The heathen Chinee has found it out, and buys 
it in lumps. At first, he used to buy it by the 
yard in his calico. The Lancashire merchant 
bought the white clay and worked it into his 
inferior cotton goods, and John Chinaman paid 
extra for the loaded yarn. The heathen learnt 
the secret in the course of time, imported the 
clay, loaded his own yarn, and put the profit into 
his own pocket. Then the " Yellow peril " was 
talked about 

All the white patches in the hills and valleys 
visible from here spell " kaolin," or " china clay/' 
and everything that china clay touches is white ; 
white waggons piled up with square white blocks 
travel along white, dusty roads, drawn by white- 
powdered horses, driven by men as white as 
ghosts in the last stages of galloping consumption. 

*'Fish, tin, and copper," was the old com- 
mercial toast ; but china clay has come in and 
taken a front seat. It is only a hundred and 
fifty years ago since a long-nosed Quaker found 
out that the stuff was good for pottery ; and then 
chemists came in and found there was money in 
it for manufacturers of cotton and paper; and 
now the society beauty may have the satisfaction 
of knowing that her fair cheek is made fairer still 
by honest china clay most delicately perfumed. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 243 

The men and women who handle the clay get 
the same stuff for nothing, and do well enough 
without the perfume. China clay, being a modern 
industry in this land of ancients, has no piskie, or 
nuggie, or bucca connected with it, and Guy 
took kindly to it on that account, saying it 
represented the practical, hard-headed twentieth 
century. Who would buy Cornwall for its 
legends, he would like to know ! Whereas all 
the world was buying mountains of china clay. 
He supposed if this long-nosed old Quaker had 
lived a thousand or two years ago he would have 
been turned into a piskie, and a fine crop of 
legends would have sprung up. We failed to 
trace any legend or folk-lore about china clay. 
It was all modern — modern discovery, modem 
uses, modem shipments ; the only thing fabulous 
seemed to be the inexhaustible supply and the 
value of certain spots free from impurities. 
One might almost fancy legend at work — ^the 
wicked giant and the sainted virgin crumbling 
into kaolin rather than be the heroine of the 
romance with wedding bell accompaniment 

We came to a rock where there b a well 
which is said to ebb and flow with the tide ; only 
it doesn't. The water is said to be brackish, 
which it probably is; but a reverend canon, writing 
on the spot, wamed visitors against tasting it on 
that account All brackish water does not come 
from the sea. However, this was a hdy well 



244 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

once on a time, and young people even now 
drop bent pins into it and wish. It is very 
simple, and costs nothing. Then there is the 
cell in which St. Roche lived until he died, and 
then, the apartment being light and airy, and 680 
feet above the sea, was occupied by successive 
saints. At present the apartment is unoccupied, 
but the parish is taking care of it This is the 
cell wherein the damned soul of Tregeagle tried 
to find sanctuary when pursued by the fiends 
from Dozmary Pool. The inhabitants of the 
wild and desolate region between Roche and 
Dozmary hear the hell-hounds pursuing the 
shrieking soul on dark tempestuous nights, and 
on ChrisUnas Eve the hunt is said to be on a 
grand scale. The inhabitants of the moors keep 
indoors after dark. The story is told in — 

A Ballad of the Haxtnted Moor. 

When the snow lay on the moor, brown moor, 
And frost hung crystals on bracken and tree, 
Gehenna and Shedl and Blackman's whelp 
Shook themselves free with deep-mouthed bay 
To hunt a poor soul in pain. 

A soul in pain, a notable soul, 
The soul of Tregeagle, a deathless soul, 
Burning in winter in Dozmary Pool, 
Freezing in sununer in Dozmary Pool, 
The soul of Tregeagle in pain. 

The Black hunter's horn rang clear, rang clear, 
And the pack gave music, yap, yap, yap ; 
Gehenna and She51 led straight to the Pool, 
Followed hot-foot by Blackman's whelp. 



"The soul of Tregeagle in pain." 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 245 

The wonderful pack runs strong in the night 
To hunt a poor soul in pain. 

A soul in pain, a notable soul ; 

The soul of Tregeagle, a deathless soul, 

Flies from the Pool with a shriek, a shriek ; 

In terror there flies with a shriek 
The soul of Tregeagle in pain. 

The Black hunter's horn rings clear, rings clear. 
And the hungry pack, the hellish pack, 
Gehenna and She51 and Blackman's whelp, 
Scent the poor soul now from the Pool, 
Free from the pool on the snow-clad moor, 
Free to escape its terrible doom. 

Tally-ho I A soul in pain, in pain ! 

The dark soul of Tregeagle in pain. 

Flies in black night across the moor. 

The desolate moor in snow and ice, 
The soul of Tregeagle in pain. 

Runs the Hunter's horse with hoofs on fire. 
The terrible, howling pack breathe fire. 
And yap, yap, yap, along the white track. 
Follow the poor soul in pain, in pain — 
Race the poor soul in terror and pain — 
Gehenna still leading the pack. 

To a light 1 a light 1 the hunted soul, 

The soul of Tregeagle in pain, 

Flies to a light on a rock, a rock — 

Flies to a light on Roche Rock, 
The soul of Tregeagle in pain. 

The scent, the fiendish scent, lies well, 
On snow-white moor and frosted fern ; 
The keen wind blows it back to the pack. 
The Black hunter's pack with eyes of fire-— 
Gehenna and She51 and Blackman's whelp. 
Yap, yap, yap I Hunting a soul in pain. 

Mile upon mile, o'er cairn and crag. 

O'er perilous ways in combe and hill ; 



246 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

In sight of dead spectres abroad to-night 
Flies the scared soul in pitiless pain, 
The soul of Tregeagle in pain. 

A holy saint, a saint prays there : 
He hears the cry of a soul in pain ; 
He knows the bark of the hellish pack, 
Gehenna and Sheol and Blackman's whelp 
Hunting a soul in pain, in pain, 
Hunting a soul in deathless pain. 

The window is shut : no room, no room ! 

Gehenna and She51 and Blackman's whelp 

Breathe liquid fire with nostrils wide ; 

The saint prays lusty for himself, 
Not for Tregeagle in pain. 

Back o'er the moor, the frozen moor, 
Flies the curst soul to Dozmary PooL 
With gleaming fangs and eyes aflame, 
The pack, the pack, the heUish pack 
Race by his side, yap, yap, yap — 
Race by the side of the soul in pain. 

Back to the Pool, the frozen pool. 

The burning soul, the notable soul, 

Flies to its prison of tears, hot tears. 

Flies to its cursed prison of tears, 
The soul of Tr^eagle in pain. 

And the pack, the loathsome, hellish pack, 
Gehenna and Shedl and Blackman's whelp, 
Were baulked of their prey this time, this time. 
But still they wait on the lonesome moor. 
To himt the poor soul in pain, in pain — 
The soul of Tregeagle in pain. 

There is a lot of moorland about here, and a 
Cornish moor, with its poor soil and wind-swept 
bracken, turning brown and golden before its 
time, its gallant heaths struggling amongst the 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 247 

rocks, or blooming grandly in sheltered patches, 
tells its tale of hardship. There is not much to 
be seen generally but rough ponies running wild, 
and rabbits and wild birds innumerable. A moor 
is not much of a place for a lonely man with sad 
indigestion bad upon him. 

This was our first real experience of a Cornish 
moor, and we walked along gaily enough for a 
time ; but conversation languished, for each was 
impressed in his own way by the immense void 
upon the earth. Whichever way we looked, there 
was nothing beyond speaking of limit to rolling 
moorland — the hills were only gaunt sentinels to 
a greater silence. To come from a city with 
millions treading on the heels of millions, and 
people in despair of getting breathing room, and 
then to find one's self upon a moor, is to ex- 
perience a new sensation. Guy suddenly sent 
up a shout, sprinted a hundred yards and back 
again, and then wanted the Bookworm to '' tuck 
in his tup'ny" — the loneliness had got upon his 
nerves, but he felt better after this performance. 
The story of Tregeagle hunted by hell-hounds 
had its origin in a locality more desolate than 
this, and the Bookworm said he was convinced 
that locality had much to do with the making and 
colouring of myths. 



c^-^- 



Chapter XXVII 




IHE capital of Clayland is St. 
Austell ; but, as usual, nobody 
is very sure about the saint If 
you say " Saintauzel " through 
the nose, you may be taken for 
a native. The church is in the 
centre of the town, and the narrow, crooked 
thoroughfares radiate from there. The town 
seems to have grown as wanted, every house 
pushing its neighbour towards the centre. The 
wealth of Ophir in black, glittering tin is said to 
underlie the town, and there is no doubt about 
the tin being there, for the nuggies may be heard 
working on their silver anvils, and bright lights 
dance upon the surface during autumnal mists. 
248 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 249 

Any tinner will tell you the meaning of these 
mysterious illuminations ; but the mines are not 
worked now, because the hills above and around 
are composed of the white clay which all the 
world wants. 

^' Saintauzel " is a Friday town. Most things 
are reckoned as from Friday to Friday, which is 
market day, and the inhabitants put on their 
Friday faces and Friday clothes. When it isn't 
Friday the inhabitants delight in watching the 
day-waggons pass their shops^ or in dodging 
them in the narrow, crooked labyrinths called 
streets. Everything gives way to the clay teams 
— butcher-boys and motor-drivers screw them- 
selves into nothingrness, or back down side-streets 
when the clay-man is in view, driving his horses 
in single file, all straining at their chains. An 
endless procession of heavy waggons rumbles 
through the narrow streets — waggons laden with 
powdered clay in barrels, or with square, white, 
glistening lumps uncovered; and the drivers, 
stiffened up with clay, like loaded yarn, crack 
their long whips and keep their teams at it. 
These drivers, bom upon the hills, look a race to 
themselves — straight-backed, upright, and hard 
as nails. The clay which they absorb year by 
year doesn't hurt them. The amount which they 
swallow with their pasties must be fatal to 
microbes, as they seldom think of dying until 
tired of throwing about barrels of clay which 



250 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

would break an ordinary labourer's heart to 
handle. The old county is sent away in ships 
as fast as they can carry it, but there is some left 
Guy fancied that there was not so much 
''expression" in the faces and dramatic action 
with the people we met here as in other places, 
and hazarded a guess that this was a result of 
looking at so much inexpressionless day. There 
is not much in clay to lay hold of the imagination, 
except its whiteness, and the purer the blanker 
it is ; but, then, smirches in clay would cause a 
sensation, like the entrance of a lady with a past 
into a party of sweet young things playing at 
goodness in a social comedy. There is little in 
the article suggestive of anything but money. 
The people here are said to be very rich in com- 
parison with those in other towns, and they need 
three banks to take care of their cash. The 
chief amusement at night is to walk around the 
banks, just to see that the doors are closed 
The Bookworm made a few inquiries about 
libraries and art galleries, and that sort of thing, 
but there were none. He felt sad ; he couldn't 
help it, he said, when he found people with 
money without books and pictures, and things of 
that sort. Samuel Drew was born here, so also 
was John William Colenso, the man who " made 
an epoch in criticism by his straightforwardness,*' 
and there is plenty of room for a statue to each. 
The old bull-ring is in evidence. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 251 

The hill on which the town stands stretches 
away a mile or so, and the further you go the 
better the view of the white, glistening patches, 
and the rills of white water trickling down the 
valleys seawards. *' Milk ! " is the one idea, 
milk flowing through the land — milk enough and 
to spare for all the condensed milk factories in 
the world. It's only an illusion — it's clay in 
solution, which by-and-by will show itself in the 
sea, like a white apron upon the shore, until it 
loses itself in the eternal blue. We stand here 
on what is a sort of terminus of the hilly back- 
bone of the country — eastward, it is black and 
nigged, moor aind mountain with white scars, and 
ruined engine-houses of abandoned mines ; then 
westward, and there is paradise in green stretch- 
ing towards the cathedral city. Down again to 
Clayopolis and the throb of arterial life — clay 
and money, money and clay. 

China clay has no fairy of its own, like tin. 
It came upon the scene too late ; and fairies can't 
be made at will, but must grow of themselves, 
and take time. Fishing, agriculture, and mining 
have their tutelar spirits, able to work and 
dematerialize at will, and every desolate cave, and 
cairn, and moor, and pool has its gnome and fairy ; 
but when we come across anything modem there 
is one thing wanting. Lightning comes from 
fairyland until it is put in lamps and sold per 
metre. China day, unknown to the fairies and 



252 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

unblessed by the saintis, has to make its own way 
in the world, on merits, like any modern young- 
ster turned out of a Board School. And it does 
very well. 

This is one of the few towns in which a 
theatrical company can pay expenses. The 
people are musical and dramatic, they can't help 
it ; and though a " theatre " would be " taboo," a 
drama in Public Rooms is all right Sports do 
very well, and you may race anything, from lame 
ducks to donkeys, bikes and motors, men, women, 
and children, but not horses. A horse-race is — 
well, not to be mentioned. 

The game of "hurling," peculiar to the county, 
is not played here now, though it is kept up 
at St. Columb and Helston and other places, and 
we saw it played at Newquay in a very mild sort 
of way. The origin of the game is pre-historic. 
When a paleolithic gentleman had a nice bone 
which another paleolithic gentleman tried to 
grrab, a tussle commenced, and the best man got 
the bone, and kept it The evolution of the game 
out of a scrimmage for a bone is so natural that 
the best-informed antiquarians have missed it 

A hurler should be able to run like a hare, 
hide like a rabbit, leap like a kangaroo, and climb 
like a monkey. Then he should be able to box 
like a pugilist, wrestle like a champion, and sky 
a ball like an All- England cricketer. These are 
essentials. Then, if he escapes drowning, and 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 253 

comes alive out of a ** scrum/' he may make a 
good hurler. It is a fair game, and may be 
played by selected teams, like football, or town 
against country, with an unlimited number. A 
silvered ball is the trophy. The ball is thrown 
into the air, and the man catching it runs for his 
goal, and when the game is too hot for him he 
skies the ball, and another fellow starts with the 
whole pack after him, until he's tripped up and 
buried under a living heap of players; then 
some one steals away with the ball, wrestles with 
the first man who catches him, and then there's 
another " scrum," which gives points to Rugby. 
And so on, backwards and forwards, from goal 
to goal, until " time" is called, or some one insured 
against broken bones and sudden death manages 
to touch his goal with the ball in his hand. 
Carew says the game was played in his days 
so that players returned home "with bloody 
pates, bones broken and out of joint, and such 
bruises as serve to shorten their days, and 
all in good play, and never attorney nor coroner 
troubled for the matter." If this was the legiti- 
mate play, what could the other have been? 
The game as played on Newquay sands was 
quite another affair, and, if revived with " New- 
quay rules," might extend from Cornwall to the 
country. Porpoises play a game in the sea 
something like hurling, only instead of a ball 
they throw a live conger into the air, and the one 



254 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

who catches dodges about until made to throw it 
up again, and so on, until time is called. An 
exciting game is on record, but the sensations of 
the conger are unknown. A good fish story 
usually leaves a trifle to the imagination. 



ut^V 



HoNeM 



..OrtN 



'^^rc 



no^ 



Chapter XXVIII 




']H£ south coast differs from the 
north. Lord Beaconsfield came 
to Falmouth in his dandy days, 
and wrote : " It is one of the 
most charming places I ever saw 
—I mean the scenery and around." 
The scenery is still there, and the town is turning 
it to account and learning to live on it Falmouth 
b very much like the lady who has seen " better 
days," and is reduced to put up the sign " Lodg- 
ings to Let" There was a time when the ships 
of the King's Navy and the Mail Packets came 
here, and the riches of the world were landed on 
its quays. Disraeli came here en rouie for the 
East, when Falmouth was queen in her own 
right, if wealth and commerce and beauty can 
make a queen. Then things changed and changed, 



256 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

and ships and commerce found other ports; but 
the beauty is there, and is all its own. Some 
people say more might be made of it in a com- 
mercial sense. There is a literary and refined 
air about the place which delighted the Book- 
worm, who found out the Libraries and Art 
Galleries, Polytechnic and Observatory. 

Honest John Burton was the Bookworm's 
delight; and after picking up a first edition of 
Chatterton in the twopenny box, there was no 
keeping him away from the premises. It was a 
rare pick-up, and honest John wouldn't take more 
than twopence, not he I We rambled over the 
premises, and found heathen gods enough stocked 
away to fill a temple in Thibet The Bookworm 
said there was nothing so rich and rare in the 
whole collection as old Burton himself, a dose of 
whom would banish melancholy. We took his 
word, for more good things were pumped into 
him than he could afterwards remember. 

Falmouth is linked in Parliamentary matri- 
mony with Penryn, an ancient borough so ashamed 
of its age that it sold its parish stocks, and other 
antiquities, " for a song." The boroughs are an 
ill-assorted pair, and the political marriage was 
not made in heaven. 

Falmouth has its scenery and climate, two in- 
alienable possessions, costing nothing, yet sources 
of unsuspected wealth if only made the most of. 
We came across the track of the American citizen, 




AT FALMOUTH. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 257 

John B. Bellamy, whom we met at Penzance. 
He left his card with honest John Burton, with 
an order to send him along any available relics 
of the late King Arthur. He may get some, who 
knows ? He left behind him also the opinion, 
that if the " durned old place " was only on the 
other side of the Atlantic, the harbour might be 
filled up with the gold that would flow into it 
every season. Tired Yanks would find paradise, 
and pay accordingly. The garden of acclimata- 
tion speaks of the climate in the bloom and 
perfume and variety of plants, all of which speak 
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the 
truth. 

There is no place in the county so well catered 
for in the matter of water excursions. The river 
Fal is marked as one of the beauty spots of the 
county, and some compare it favourably even 
with the Dart and the Wye. It may lose or 
gain by comparison, but it is good enough ^'on 
its own.'' The best way to see the Fal is to sail 
from the open into the Qord-like inlet of Falmouth, 
and then up the valley, sinuous and well-wooded, 
narrowing as you go, and increasing its natural 
beauty every mile. The Helford river should be 
seen in a similar way — come in from the open 
with the sea and fancy, if you can, the mighty 
rush of waters boring its way through rocks, 
carving out the miniature creeks, right and left, 
until its earth-hunger is spent. The scenery from 

s 



258 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

Helford to Gweek is bolder than that of the Fal, 
and some prefer it on that account. There is a 
lot of fishing done in the creeks, and most of the 
yachts we passed had nets and lines hanging over 
the bows or lying about the decks. The oysters 
have a good reputation, but there is no con- 
siderable trade done in pearls. 

Rivers are scarce, though the clouds are 
generous. Some say there are no real rivers, 
and that Cornwall has only the predominant 
partner interest in the Tamar, and two brooks. 
Camel and Fowey, which you can leap over any- 
where with a long pole, until you come to salt 
water. The Fal and Helford are really estuaries. 
The upper moorland reaches of the Camel and 
Fowey abound in delicious little spots where one 
can sit and listen dreamily to the stream fretting 
amongst boulders, and swirling in sunshine and 
shadow amongst ferns and wild flowering shrubs, 
with effects incomparably beautiful. 

The Lizard end of the peninsula is a sort of 
receiving house for the news of the world. The 
secrets of many lands arrive here first, breathless 
and palpitating, after their long runs on the ocean 
cables. Marconi has his stations here; and at 
unlooked-for places we come across notices re- 
minding all whom it concerns not to foul the 
cables. There are secrets of which we know 
nothing — secrets of peace and war, ruin and suc- 
cess, love and hate, which we would give our 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 259 

ears to have an inkling of, vibrating under water 
and in the air. 

The peninsula has always been a sort of 
receiving office for the nation. At first, when 
foes came sailing along, the Cornishmen spied 
them atid sent up a flare, and then the beacon 
fires flashed out the news in the dark night, so 
that all men might read in letters of flame* A 
fire lit high on St. Michael's Mount travelled with 
speed around the coasts of Britain. Hensbarrow, 
called the " Archbeacon " of the county, could tell 
its story in fire from the Lizard to the Tamar, 
and set men's blood tingling, and hearts throbbing, 
as no "wire" or *' cable" or printed word can do. 

It was "wireless," and the British admiral 
keeping watch upon the French fleet at Brest 
informed my lords of the Admiralty of their move- 
ments by means of signals from frigate to frigate 
stationed across the Channel, and received at the 
Dodman by the sleepless watcher. Then the 
news travelled by semaphore from headland to 
headland — from Dodman to the Blackhead, to 
the Gribben, to Polruan, to Polperro, to Maker 
Heights, to the Commander-in-Chief. Very little 
time was lost, even in the old days, when there 
was anything to tell, and Cornwall was the eye, 
and ear, and tongue. 

The Dodman, the highest headland in the 
county, is one of those places of solitude where 
depression will not stay. Hour after hour one 



26o Cornish Saints and Sinners 

may pass upon the bluff headland without seeing 
a human soul or hearing a human voice, and yet 
feel one's spirits elated in the silence. With a 
mere half-turn of the head one can see the whole 
Cornish coast, from the Lizard to the Rame, and 
beyond, and all the ocean traffic passing up and 
down. Then below, a sheer fall of four hundred 
feet, are the little crabbing boats, mere specks 
upon the blue, shoaling into green and breaking 
into foam upon the dark, weathered rocks. And 
then the wind, blow which way it will, must sweep 
this headland, bringing with it the scents of 
heather and wild flower untainted, as though in 
all the world there were no such things as smoke; 
and factories, and areas of pollution. For miles 
the cliffs are covered with tall bracken, green in 
summer, but quickly touched with brown and 
gold. These cliffs teem with life which we can- 
not see but know to be there ; but feathered life 
is abundant and everywhere in evidence, flying 
in air, clustering on the rocks, or diving and 
swimming when fish abound. And then there 
come up from the shore the rhythmic sounds of 
spent energy — 

*' Hush me to sleep with the soft wave song, 
Wash all the cares away, wash all the strife away, 
All the old pains that to living belong." 

Every sense is filled with thrills, and depression 
is impossible. People say the country is one vast 
sanatorium ; and I think that open-air treatment 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 261 

on the Dodman would be delightful The 
" faculty *' are welcome to the hint. 

The headland is occupied only by a small 
shelter for the coastguardsmen, and a modern 
granite cross, which can be seen, soon after pass- 
ing the Lizard, by persons on board ship. To 
those who think it, this fine monument is the 
symbol of the new life rampant over a buried 
past, for it stands on the legendary playground of 
the giants, who laid waste the whole district, and 
heaped the bones of their victims, pile upon pile, 
until the headland rose majestic. 

A giant once dwelt here who willed his 
'"quoits" to his relatives, who, however, never 
fclaimed them on account of the death duties on 
personal estate payable to Somerset House. 
Then footsteps of the Vikings are plainly visible 
in stone encampments, telling of another age, still 
violent, but of " derring-do ; *' and to the west we 
touch Arthurian romance once more, for Geraint 
of the Round Table lies there, interred with 
Christian rites in a boat of gold, which was rowed 
across the sea with silver oars. All this, and 
more, within sight and sound of the Dodman 
cross, bearing the following inscription : " In the 
firm hope of the Second Coming of Our Lord 
JesDs Christ, and for the encouragement of those 
who strive to serve Him, this Cross is erected. 
A.D. 1896." The old order and the new rest 
peacefully on this headland solitude. 



♦% 



262 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

The finest beaches on the south are here, 
right and left of the Dodman, and are seldom 
visited save by stragglers, like ourselves, or 
picnic parties from a distance. The Bookworm 
chanced upon the fact that Cornwall had some 
little share in the production of Lord Byron, his 
grandmother being a Trevanion of Caerhays, only 
a short distance from here.* Admiral Byron, 
the grandfather, was known to contemporaries as 
" Foul-weather Jack,*' so storm-pursued was he, 
and the poet's passionate love of the sea was not 
a mere " sport," after all. 

* Caerhays Castle passed from the Trevanion family by 
purchase to that of the present owner — Mr. J. C. Williams, for-. 
merly M.P. for the Truro division. The castle was built in 1805 
from the designs of Mr. Nash, architect of Buckingham Palace 
and Regent Street. 



Chapter XXIX 



H E coastguard station, with white- 
washed walls gleaming and flag- 
staff with halyards all taut, makes 
a good mark along this coast, 
which is certainly not thickly 
populated now, to judge by the 
number of crumbling houses and villages partially 
deserted. The fishing coves hold their own, but 
the cry of " back to the land " has not been much 
heeded in these parts. 

The man in blue uniform, with spy-glass 

under his arm, is always an attractive personage ; 

he is so human, though official; so fresh and 

breezy, so ready to help the passing ship in 

363 



264 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

danger, and do grand deeds in storm and tempest. 
England's watchfulness and strength is writ large 
upon the coastguard station, and the men are 
uniformly intelligent and good-mannered. A 
strange mixture of blood — Great Britain in 
epitome — may be found in one small station we 
halted at, namely, two Irish, one Scotch, one 
Novocastrian, and one Devonian — not a dash of 
Cornish blood at a Cornish station. A native 
might wink the other eye if his own flesh and 
blood did a bit of free trading in spirits and 
tobacco, and only run with his " two left legs " 
after a culprit related to himself. The men, 
as a rule, have seen the world, read a great 
deal, and pass their time in thinking — not very 
much else to do when on duty but watch and 
think. 

If you'll be good enough to listen, the coast- 
guardsman will talk. The sea-gulls are very 
chummy with the men, know the uniform, and 
like to come and help them in their garden 
patches. Guy told a man one day that the gulls 
were a bit out of favour just now with Londoners 
because they had a weakness for sparrows, feathers 
and all; but the coastguard wasn't surprised at 
the gull, only at the sparrow. He thought that 
London sparrows were too artful to be picked up 
in that way by a simple sea bird. He told us 
some stories about sea-gulls. They are fond of 
young kittens and puppies that nobody wants 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 265 

and throws into the water. The fur increases 
the luxury of the bonne bouche. Then rabbits. 
Woe to the young thing that they tap with their 
powerful bills I A gull will kill a rabbit caught 
in a gin and feast on its eyes. Then they are 
famous poachers, stealing the eggs of birds nest- 
ing in the cliffs^ and carrying off the newly hatched. 
But ravens and crows take reprisals ^nd make 
the gull sorry at times. Our coastguard told us 
this little story : — 

" There was a gull sitting on a rock below 
this, station, and I watched the pair day by day. 
The male bird is very attentive, and feeds the 
hen, and watches over her, and takes her place 
on the nest when she takes an airing. A pair of 
ravens took an interest in the proceedings, and 
one day, when the male bird was away foraging, 
they executed a scheme for robbing the sea-gull's 
eggs. It was very neat in its way. The ravens 
flew round and round the sitting hen, screaming 
defiance ; but the hen only sat the tighter. Then 
they circled closer and closer, and flapped their 
black wings in the hen's face. This insult was 
too much. The gull's blood was up, and she 
rose from her nest. Then the ravens separated, 
and whilst the gull chased number one, number 
two picked up an tg^ in its bill and flew back to 
quarters, where number one joined it, and the 
two shared the stolen ^^^. Some people say 
birds have no reason. Well, I'd like to see 



266 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

cunning strategy better carried out The little 
Japs couldn't do better." 

The silver-grey gull is in paradise in the fish- 
ing villages, and takes possession of the boats, 
and quays, and roofs of houses, and helps itself 
out of the *' flaskets " filled with fish, or from the 
heaps lying on the stones. A bigger thief does 
not live and escape punishment If anything 
floats on the water in the harbour, the gull swoops 
down upon it and it is gone ; if anything is left 
unprotected, the gull has it What a gull will eat, 
and want no liver pill, would make any other 
respectable bird on the wing bilious; but the 
gull is always bright and cheerful, and ready for 
another gorge, and its natural store of gastric 
juice would set up a chemical factory. When 
fish is scarce the gull goes inland and feeds upon 
the fields, or joins the noble army of poachers 
over gentlemen's preserves. 

On the wing the gull is the spirit of poetry, 
and in storm the spirit of the tempest ; the fishers 
look on it as a friend, because it hovers over the 
'' schools " of fish swimming in the sea, and warns 
them of approaching storm. The gull is the link 
between the fisher and his home, flies after the 
boats when they go out, and heralds their return. 
The women look out of their windows in the early 
morn, and see the gull resting and waiting for the 
offal to be thrown away when the boats land their 
catches. Then they know the boats are near, 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 267 

and that the men will be home soon, with fish 
strung upon their fingers for the morning meal. 
The gull is the household bird by adoption, and 
the women don't begrudge it what it steals. 

The dark rocks outside the fishing towns 
swarm with sea-gulls — specketty-brown gulls, 
grey and white gulls with ebony-tipped wings, 
gulls with brown and gulls with yellow beaks, 
gulls flying, gulls swimming, gulls sleeping, gulls 
on outpost duty. Without these birds the rocks 
would be very tame. A swarm of gulls in the air 
is one of the prettiest sights in nature ; and then 
the cry of the gull is the cry of a human soul in 
^gony, which perhaps it is. 

The Legend of St. Goeland. 

In the days when Lyonesse was land, a poor 
hermit dwelt upon a rock, whereon he had built 
for himself a chapel, which was but a shelter of 
rude stones to protect him, but it was called a 
''chapel" because it had been signed with the 
sign of the cross, and he said his prayers therein. 
The rock was storm*swept, and was at the head 
of a bay, beautiful in summer, but terrible in 
winter, and the bay was only a trap to poor 
marinersi and every rock could tell its tragedy. 
St. Goeland was a Breton, born in a fishing 
village, and when he came across there flew after 
him a sea-gull, which he had befriended. It was 



268 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

all the same to the sea-bird where it dwelt if the 
sea was but there, and the bird wished to be with 
St. Goeland. 

The rock on which the saint built his chapel 
was known as the Gull Rock, and there was 
nothing living visible but solemn shags resting by 
night, and sea-birds on the wing at all times ; no 
human dwelling or habitation disturbed the pious 
meditations of the saint, who feasted when snails 
were in season, and on Fridays fresh fish was 
always brought to him by his devoted gull. At 
other times the gull brought sea-birds' eggs, 
and laid them down outside the chapel door. 
Fresh sea-birds' eggs are simply delicious when 
boiled. 

St Goeland did not live a useless life, for out- 
side his chapel there was a cage which he filled 
with dry sticks, lighting it when there was fog 
about, and then hoisting it aloft to warn mariners 
to keep clear of the treacherous bay. " St. 
Goeland's lantern '' became known, far and wide. 
One day the saint picked up a bell which had 
been washed ashore ; so he' built a rude belfry 
and hung it, and then " St. Goeland's Bell " was 
heard by mariners at sea whenever there was 
danger of being caught upon a lee shore. When 
the wind veered round to danger point the old 
gull used to give the saint a note of warning, and 
the saint would rise from his soundest sleep and 
pull on the rope, so the sound of the bell was 



ST. GOELAND AND THE SEA-GULU 



^ 



f, 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 269 

carried down the wind, and mariners gave the 
treacherous coast a wide berth. The saint never 
knew the good he did, but did it, not knowing. 
Now, what with cutting and stacking faggots for 
the " lantern," and ringing the bell, St. Goeland 
was sometimes very busy, and he and his gull 
grew old together. The silver-grey feathers were 
almost as white as the saint's silver hair. When 
the saint was troubled he talked to the bird, which 
was saddened when he said, " We have grown 
old together, and what will happen to the poor 
mariners when there is no one to light the lantern 
and sound the bell ? " 

It came to pass that a ship filled with pilgrims 
was making for the land, and would have come 
and anchored in the bay when the wind veered, 
and the old gull gave its note of warning ; but 
St Goeland was too feeble to rise, and the tears 
came into his eyes. The pilgrim ship was sailing 
joyously towards destructioUj and the bell was 
silent! The gull cried louder; the wind rose, 
and the ship was on her way; soon she would 
be on a lee shore, and then 

St. Goeland made a supreme effort, and 
clutched the rope. " My God I " he shrieked, and 
fell, and the bell sounded. But the gull heard the 
shriek and the bell's note mingled, and carried it 
against the wind ; and those on board the pilgrim 
ship heard, and drew off the land, saying, it was 
" St. Goeland's warning," which it was, only they 



270 Cornish Saints and Sinners 



did not know that the saint passed away when the 
bell pealed his requiem. 

From that time the sea-gull's cry is that of a 
human soul in agony mingled with the note of a 
'< passing bell/' All mariners, and fishers, and 
dwellers by the sea, know it well, and woe to 
the man who lays finger on a gull, except in 
kindness I 

" The sea-gull," said Guy, '* is an utterly un- 
productive animal, fit for nothing but to look at 
What it destroys is incalculable, and yet some 
yam like this, invented Heaven knows when, 
makes it almost a sacred bird/' 

The Bookworm had little to say, except that 
people were more influenced by sentiment than 
they knew or suspected. 

Guy pooh-poohed ** sentiment,'' and said he'd 
wring a couple of gulls' necks the next morning 
before breakfast. 

He went out with that idea, but a warning 
voice reached him. Then he tried to ** negociate " 
a purchase, and a big fist brought down in the 
man's palm warned him that the transaction was, 
in diplomatic language, "delicate." Guy owned 
up that there was something, after all, in *^ senti- 



ment" 



Sea-gulls are privileged in this part of the 
world. 







^*^ 



Chapter XXX 




lISHING villages look charming 
from the sea, the houses rising 
one above another against the 
hills, with green fields and wind- 
swept trees for background ; and 
they are very picturesque when 
looked upon from hilltops, with all their boats 
riding to their moorings, or sailing about in the 
offing. This is the home of the pilchard in 
summer and autumn, and the industry is impor- 
tant. When confectioned in oil, and tinned, the 
pilchard is " sardine." One of the most beautiful 
sights on the coast is the united fleets from 
Mevagissey, Polperro, and Looe, " drifting " on 
a clear, dark night, with their riding-l^hts 
twinkling. So peaceful, and not a sound reaches 
the shore, for deep-sea fishing is a silent occupa- 
tion. Fish are supposed to be very sensitive to 
sounds, and it is one of the deadly sins to whistle 



272 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

or sing on board a boat when her nets are in the 
water. These places live for the most part on 
Wesley and pilchards. Speak well of both, and 
you may be happy. 

Pickled pilchards are exported to Italy in 
casks ; and the abusers of the Pope and all his 
works wax fat The man who ventures to say a 
good word for his Holiness needs courage ; but 
those who make faces now would feel bad with- 
out Lent and fish days in the Roman calendar. 
Guy argued that it showed a fine spirit to feed 
poor benighted Italians who crossed themselves, 
and pouch a hundred thousand sterling a year 
for the trouble. Pickled ^pilchards he looked on 
as a bond of union between the two countries. 
Pilchards feed bodies, the Pope souls, and the 
shekels come here. Long live the pilchard ! 
Commerce is the fifth gospel, and Rashleigh 
puts it in a nutshell — Father Prout couldn't do 
better — 

'* Here's to the health of the Pope ! May he live to repent, 
And add just six months to the term of his Lent, 
And tell all his vassals from Rome to the Poles, 
There's nothing like pilchards for saving their souls." 

The incense of fish, fried and grilled, ascends 
to high heaven, or as far as it can reach in that 
direction, morning and evening ; and when there's 
no incense times are hard. The sign is said to 
be infallible. 

Pilgrims sometimes fancy that fish is cheap 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 273 

where it is caught, but this is one of the fallacies of 
the day. Soles go to Billingsgate when they die, 
and so do most fish of good table reputation. A 
visitor may sometimes secure a sole when landed, 
but only the millionaire class can do so often. 
The Bookworm tried the experiment, and Guy 
told him he should have known better ; but he 
was carried away with excitement at seeing a 
real live sole flap its fins and gape. People 
standing around told him the fish was alive, but 
would be iced with the rest, and sent to Billings- 
gate. The Bookworm thought he would like to 
buy it, and there was a sudden lull in the business 
going on on the quay. The sole belonged to a 
man in a blue flannel shirt, and every one crowded 
round and stared at him, and listened attentively 
when he was asked to name a price. The man 
seemed sorry to part with the fish in this way, 
and then he asked a price which might have 
affected the price of " stocks " had it been reported. 
The Bookworm brought home his capture in 
triumph. Guy studied the question afterwards, 
and found that the people liked to pack fish in ice, 
and pay cartage, and railway charges, and com- 
missions, and make bad debts, all for the honour 
of selling fish at Billingsgate at a lower price than 
they would sell it on the spot " The nearer the 
sea the further from fish," is the working motto, 
but it loses its strangeness after a time. 

Fisher people eat fish, but prefer flesh at the 

T 



274 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

midday meal. We found the man in a blue 
flannel shirt sitting on a post, smoking a short 
clay as black as ebony, and he told us that his 
boy Tom wouldn't even ask a blessing on ** no 
vish ** when it was served for dinner. " I shaan't 
ask no blessing over no vish, nor nothing but 
butcher's maate/' says young Tom ; and the man 
in the blue shirt told us he thought this thankless 
spirit resulted from too much schooling ! 

A deep-sea fisher, with a boat of his own, is 
the most independent man in the universe, having 
no landlord, paying no rent, burdened with no 
tax on boat and gear, going and coming as he 
pleases. He reaps without sowing, and is ''pro- 
tected" within the three-mile limit by gunboats 
in a land of " free trade." A blue-water fisher is 
not ashamed of his calling, hiding himself under 
the title of " artist " in shrimps, or " purveyor '* of 
lobsters, or '* merchant" in mackerel, and die rest 
A fisherman, honest fisherman, is not too proud 
to be called what he is. The art of fishing is as 
old as humanity, and it has been discovered that 
a fish diet can produce a great nation in the Far 
East* 

Guy wanted to know why fishers are always 
called *'poor," and why sentimental tears were 

• The Japs dwell complacently on the tradition that they were 
once only a community of humble fishennen ; and it is the custom 
to send with all presents Apiece of dried fish^ that their origin may 
be kept in perpetual remembrance. 



THREE MINUTES WITH A DOG FISH. 
(Tie ael U ml fy Ut ipirut on Ike darsal fins.) 



Cwnish Saints and Sinners 275 

shed over their hard lot ? Fish cost nothing to 
feed, yet fetch about twice as much as beef and 
mutton for the table, and so somebody made a 
good thing if the fisherman was poor. If the 
calling was a hard one, one must go to some 
other part of the world to discover it ; and as for 
danger, cases of drowning at sea here are very 
rare. The moan of the " Three Fishers" doesn't 
suit the part in this place. 

Fish "charms'' are comparatively rare, but 
fish oil is said to be good for weak vision, and the 
smoke from burning fish is a protection against 
evil spirits. The eating of skate accounts for 
large families, and a dogfish secures an heir 
male, if eaten in the month of May. Kings and 
queens, and all persons worried on this subject, 
please note. 

The curative effects of sea-water drunk fast- 
ing are believed in. Some of the old people say 
they have never taken any other medicine. A 
master mariner told us that, at sea, sailors would 
drink sea-water instead of coming to him for a 
dose of " traade " out of the medicine-chest. The 
Bookworm said a medical journal had recently 
drawn attention to the subject, and recommended 
it to people who rose bad-tempered in the morn- 
ing. Certainly the ocean wouldn't miss a few 
bucketfuls, and mothers-in-law and M.P.'s, study- 
ing the questions of the day, might go in strongly 
for the ocean cure. What a sweet-tempered 



276 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

world to live in then, and plenty of water for 
fish to swim in left ! 

A deep-sea fisher has a good eye for colour, 
and every shade and tint upon the face of the 
sea and heavens he knows as well as any artist 
Fish colours he knows to a shade of a shade, and 
when the sky has a queer look, he likens it to 
** mackerel '^ tints, and every tint is an omen to him. 

How many hours a day a fisherman passes 
looking at the sea has never been counted. There 
is, perhaps, some unknown fascination for eye and 
ear, something calling which will not be denied. 
We noticed an old man who seemed glued to a 
stump in a nice sunny corner, out of the way of 
the wind, and the old man took possession of it 
The view from this post was seaward, of coiu^e, 
and when the old man wasn't gazing at the sea 
and clouds, he took off his sou'wester and looked 
inside of that Sometimes he put something 
inside his sou'wester, and then took something 
out and popped it in his mouth. The lining of 
his sou'wester was his storehouse of unexhausted 
tobacco-quids. This was '' Uncle Tom " and 
" Uncle Tom's post," and the men, in passing, 
would hail him, " How ar'ee to-day, Uncle Tom ?" 
to which he would reply, •* Toll-loll." It wasn't 
much, but Guy, taking it as evidence that he 
could speak, laid in a stock of black, rank Irish 
roll tobacco, fit for chewing, and scraped an ac- 
quaintance. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 277 

Did he ever tire of looking at the sea ? Not 
that he was aweer on. The vish was in the zay, 
an' th' wind was in the clouds, and what else was 
there in this world worth looking at ? Man and 
boy, he had followed the sea till his hair was 
white, until he knew its coquetries and passions, 
and generation after generation before him were 
sailor-fishers, until "the salt was in his blood/' 
The old man's eyes were wild-violet-blue, and a 
mystic light came into them when he said that at 
times the sea '^called" to him, and '' ef zo be I 
had my way, I'd die at zay, and be buried in salt 
watter, like Jan Tregose." 

Guy paid court to the old sea-dog, until his 
sou'wester was full of fresh quids, and wormed 
out the story of Jan Tregose, who, it appeared, 
was one of the good old sort in the good old 
times, who could sing a song, and swear a swear, 
and loved a fiddle, and a maid, and brandy-toddy 
with the best Now, when Jan found his timbers 
so shaken that he had to take to his bed, a long- 
ing came over him to die at sea, and be buried in 
deep water. The sea-spirit came to him in his 
dreams — the same spirit, tall and diaphanous, 
that used to come to him when a young man and 
tell him what was going on at home whilst he 
was on his voyages. The sea-spirit had not 
troubled him since he had remained ashore, until 
now, and it was a sign to him. 

Jan Tregose called his sons together, and 



278 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

made them swear that never, whilst breath was 
in them, should he be laid in a coffin, or buried 
in the earth. Then the sea-spirit came again, 
and told him that when the tide turned that night 
she would receive him. The old man called his 
sons again, and they carried him on board their 
lugger, and sailed away in the calm night, with 
the stars alone for witnesses. The spare lugsail 
was spread over the nets, and upon it Jan lay, 
his long, thin white hair gently lifting in the 
breeze; and there was nothing heard but the 
sea-splash against the boat, and nothing seen but 
a long-necked gannet on the wing. 

The boat was far enough from land when the 
tide turned. The sons looked, and there was a 
mist before their eyes, but it went " like a flash/* 
and the old man lay stark. Then the sons knew 
it was the sea-spirit they had seen as mist. 

The sons kept their oath, and wrapped their 
father in the old lugsail, and watched him dis- 
appear in thirty fathoms of water, ten miles from 
the Stone. And many a man has declared that 
he has heard Jan Tregose fiddling and singing 
before a storm. Those who are wise put back 
when they hear " Jan's tune " at sea, for there is 
" sartin to be a coose time." 

" The salt is in the blood of these children of 
the sea, and has developed a strange mysticism,'* 
said the Bookworm. " Of course, I don't under- 
stand it," he added quickly, seeing Guy brace 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 279 

himself up and put on his cross-examining air. 
^' It's there all the same, and the sea has voices 
and prophecies for them which we landsmen miss ; 
and why not? The sea is as a human face to 
them, and they know when it is troubled with 
the spirit of passionate unrest It may be that, 
like the fishes, they have a sixth sense, and can 
see dark shadows fluttering under cloudless skies, 
and hear voices from afar preluding passionate 
symphonies." 

"These fellows are always looking on the 
sea, and no doubt spot things before we should. 
Wonder if they didn't ; but why this high-falutin } " 
asked Guy. 

''It may be magnetic phenomena, and these 
men unconsciously receive messages; but it is 
none the less mystical to me," said the Bookworm, 
unruffled. 

" I see ; kind of receiving officers to the Clerk 
of the Weather. The newspapers will come out 
with this sort of thing in the near future : ' Our 
special correspondent writes that a change may 
be expected soon — he feels it in the marrow of 
his bones;' or, 'Our infallible predicter at the 
Land's End heard sea-voices last night, and re- 
commends umbrellas and mackintoshes for the 
next week.' Take out a patent in time and 
make a fortune ; ideas are money just now," re- 
joined Guy, holding out the red flag. 

The Bookworm was provokingly unconscious. 



Chapter XXXI 



ilORNWALL has a fascination for 
I artists, and it is said that Newlyn 
and Sl Ives have many more 
reputations to make. On the 
south coast, where studios are 
few, we often saw artists of the 
unflinching, realistic schoo] painting directly from 
Nature, their models standing patiently enough 
in exposed places. And such models t There 
are grand heads and faces among these Bsher- 
folk, and one can get models for saints or Vikings. 
280 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 281 

A collection of sketches made between Polperro 
and the Dodman was shown us, which would do 
splendidly for every character in a Passion-play. 
Judas was there, who would, and did, receive his 
pieces of silver before sitting for his "effigy" to 
be drawn. He looked the part to perfection. 
And the sketches of women were splendid also, 
which is not remarkable, as they possess, in these 
parts, much of the languorous grace of their 
Southern sisters, the eyes being incomparably 
beautiful. 

The sea is the mother of life and beauty, and 
that is why Venus rose from the waves. The 
birthplace of the goddess might have been here, 
long ago, when the short, stiff galleys of Greek 
and Phoenician rowed along the coast, marvelling 
at its beauty, after the pulseless shores of the 
tideless Mediterranean. Here were the dark 
cliffs and the sapphire waters falling on the golden 
sands. And in the early morn a soft, diaphanous 
mist was borne onwards by the breakers, so those 
who saw said, loveliness rose from the foam, and 
they called the vision Aphrodite — the awakening 
of Nature into beauty. The mariners took the 
vision home, and Aphrodite, the life and move- 
ment of the sea, became the guardian of mariners 
— the morning and the evening star. 

The Beach is the shy maiden, seeking always 
the shadow of rocks and cliffs, and running into 
caves to hide from the light of day, when adorning 



282 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

herself with sea-shells, and rainbow medusae, 
and deep-tinted anemones, and all the treasures 
which the ardent sea casts into her lap. And the 
Sea is the wooer, restless and masterful, wooing 
ever and in every mood, and making his love- 
song in sweet lullaby, and plaintive moan, and 
martial beat as of ten thousand drums heralding 
the march of grand battalions. 

When you see a girl in a boat you may write 
her down " stranger," and if you see her handling 
a pair of sculls, you may be sure of it* The 
mothers of the blue- water men have as little as 
possible to do with the sea, and are content to 
admire its greens and blues shot with flaming 
sky tints, and dream of '' heavenly costumes ^ in 
like shades, at so much halfpenny per yard. S trong 
prejudices exist in places against women having 
anything to do with boats; but custom differs 
greatly on the north and south coasts as to what 
a woman may or may not do, when the men 
come ashore. That women and cats, hares and 
rabbits, bring " bad luck " is a very general super- 
stition; so a woman never goes out with her 
husband fishing, and seldom steps into a row- 
boat. Where public sentiment is weak, and they 
can if they like, they don't like ; and, in places, 
the art of making and mending nets is entirely 
lost to the women, though formerly, to make and 
mend nets, of all sizes, was a part of every girl's 

* Fowey is an exception. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 283 

technical education ; and in a fisher's family her 
fingers were never idle in making good the rents 
made by rocks and the sharp teeth of the voracious 
dog-fish. 

Guy said it was probably the fault of the men 
that the women left their boats and gear alone. 
On rivers and lakes, where girls were encouraged, 
they took to boating like anything, and if there 
was a prettier picture than a girl sculling, or a 
girl eight, he'd like to see it. The men had no 
doubt frightened the women in the course of 
centuries with stories of sea-monsters and fairies, 
and no wonder they threw over net making and 
mending at the earliest moment. 

The sea has its " bucca," just as the land has 
its piskie, and there is the same uncertainty as to 
the origin of the one as of the other. We picked 
up a story, and the Bookworm called it 

The Romance of a Bucca. 

It is known to all fishermen living at the 
Cove, and fishing with crab-pots, long lines, 
spilters, and drag-nets, that Bucca could bring 
good luck or bad luck just as he was minded, but 
that he never interfered with any man who owned 
a big boat, or went far away to sea with drift-nets 
for the capture of pilchard, herrings, and mackerel, 
in their season. Bucca did not move with the 
times, and got out of the way of great trawlers. 



284 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

and craft worked by steam and motors, churning 
up the sea when it was restful, and defying wind 
and tide ; but was content to lord it over those 
who went in and out in little boats, and left him 
his share of '' luck '' upon the beach, when they 
landed. The fisherman often saw him, when the 
water was clear, working in and out amongst the 
crabs and lobsters, half-hidden with sea-weeds; 
and it was always counted as good luck to see 
Bucca at work, because he who saw was sure to 
have a fine catch. Sometimes he was seen, when 
the mists rolled up, sitting amongst the shags 
upon the rocks, holding court amongst them, and 
the noise which the birds made was taken for 
song, so the fishermen of the Cove called the 
mist '^ music,'* and they say to one another that 
the ^' music" is coming off the land, when the 
mist is rising and rolling away in clouds. 

Bucca was not always Bucca, but a young 
prince who loved a maid, "tall as a lyllye refreshed 
by a showere," but, alas I shut up in a convent to 
be out of his reach. Then he grew desperate, 
and bribed a ** wise woman '' to change him into 
a pigeon, so that he could come and go, and the 
maiden took the pigeon into her cell, and hid it 
in her bosom. The prince won the maiden's 
heart, and she grew more lovely and contented, 
which was her undoing, for the Lady Superior 
thought something must be wrong when a maiden 
under her charge was happy; so she sent secretly 



THE FIGURE-HEAD OF THE "CALEDONIA," MORWENSTOW. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 285 

to the holy monk living near by, who caught the 
pigeon in the cell| and loosened the spell of the 
" wise woman/' when the prince stood confessed 
the maiden's lover in his human shape. The 
maiden clung to him, and he was bold and used 
bold threats, so the doors flew wide open, and 
they would have fled, but the holy monk cursed 
him with a curse, and turned him into a Bucca 
for a thousand years, or until such time as he 
should win woman's love. 

A Bucca is not fair to see, being human but 
in form, with a dark face, like weather-beaten 
rock, and big head with tangled masses of fine 
seaweed for hair; but he has power to change 
at will into fish or bird, though not into anything 
with a human soul. So when the maiden looked 
upon the prince, she shrank from a thing so 
loathsome, and he rushed down the nearest cliff 
and into the sea, and sought companionship with 
fishes, until he learnt the ways of a Bucca, and 
could exercise dominion in his new element He 
could neither drown in the sea, nor die upon 
land, for a thousand years, or until such time as 
he might win woman's love. 

The prince became Bucca of a cove wherein 
there were but few dwellers, and the fishermen 
became accustomed to see him sitting amongst 
the seaweed, and on the rocks amongst the sea- 
birds, and noticed that he was always sad and 
lonely, so they had compassion in their hearts, 



286 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

and spoke him fair. Bucca rewarded them by 
filling their crab and lobster pots, in season, and 
driving the fish into their nets ; and when a storm 
arose he'd lift their little craft over the waves, 
and guide them home in safety in the thickest 
fog. Generation after generation came and went ; 
and the little children heard of Bucca, and what 
he could do for those who spoke him fair, and of 
the terrible things which happened to those who 
mocked him because of his dark skin, and big 
head, and seaweed curls. People who treated 
him badly he punished by driving the crabs and 
lobsters from their pots, and the fishes from their 
nets, and would let them drown in storms. 

One of the Cove fishers was Uncle Malachi, 
who, when he was old, was left with a little maid, 
a grandchild, to bring up; and he took her in 
his boat with him, teaching her all he knew. 
People laughed, and said it was unlucky to have 
a maid on board a boat ; and it seemed so, for 
Uncle Malachi went out and returned with empty 
pots and nets. One day the little maid fell into 
the sea, but Bucca held her up until Uncle 
Malachi reached his gaff, and gaffed her in. 
From that day he never wanted luck when he 
took his little maid with him; and ''Malachi's 
luck " became a saying in the Cove for a good 
catch. 

For centuries the Bucca lived at the Cove, 
lording it over fishes and fishermen, and never 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 287 

thought to cut short the term of his punishment 
by winning woman's love ; but when he held up 
the little maid in the sea until Uncle Malachi 
gaffed her, an idea came into his head, and his 
heart throbbed. 

The little maid grew beautiful and her lovers 
were many, but she gave her love to Seth Barton, 
who was as dark as she was fair, and passionate 
as he was dark, and none of the fisher-lads dared 
so much as lift their eyes to Uncle Malachi's 
little maid when he was near. Seth was a 
crabber, and took over all the old man's pots and 
gear and boat when he was laid to rest, and he 
was married to the little maid, and they lived in 
the old house with the windows looking on the 
beach. In the linhay at the back Seth placed 
all his gear wanting mending, and Grace was 
deft with the " needle," having been taught by 
Malachi to make nets and mend them, to bait 
the long lines, and do all that a boy might do on 
the boat or on shore. Only Seth would not take 
Grace out with him, for there was a saying, " A 
woman in a boat is a devil afloat," and he was a 
fisher, and feared bad luck if a married woman 
put foot over the gunwale. 

Now, when Seth Barton was at sea, Bucca 
would come into the linhay and make and mend 
the nets and gear, so that Grace had little to do. 
By-and-by she grew accustomed to Bucca, who 
came and went as he pleased ; and when he 



288 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

pleased no one could see him, so it was no good 
for Grace to shut the door and say he should not 
come. Bucca, in fact, was often with her when 
she did not know it, and in her dreams she was 
wooed by a handsome young prince, who took 
her thoughts from Sedi, and filled her with 
passionate longings, so she was never so happy 
as when asleep and dreaming dreams. When 
she awoke there was only Bucca with his seaweed 
hair and ugliness, so she had no idea that the 
lover of her dreams was Bucca, the prince of 
olden days, when the soul of a man beamed in 
his eyes. In time, the sight of the ugly Bucca 
grew distasteful, and she would rather mend the 
nets and bait the hookis than have him about 
with his flat fishy eyes, in which no human light 
beamed. And Seth, when he heard of the 
visions, grew jealous ; and Grace held her peace, 
but was rude to Bucca, telling him, in scorn, that 
if he were but as her dream-lover, she'd follow 
him over sea and land. 

Then Bucca knew he'd never win woman's 
love, and he must abide his thousand years. 

One night, however, Grace dreamt a dream, 
in which her prince-lover pressed her lips and 
eyes, and whispered softly, so that she rose in 
sleep and followed the vision, which passed over 
the sea. She unmoored Seth's boat and took the 
oars, but Bucca was there, and lifted their weight, 
and drew back the waves that scarcely touched, 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 289 

so that the boat travelled fast, and Grace still 
slept When the boat was far from land the 
vision changed, and the prince became a Bucca, 
who knelt before her, his sea-locks dripping, 
imploring for a woman's love to restore him to 
his lost estate. There was pity in her soul, and 
the fishes swam round and round the boat to 
witness the strange wooing, and wonder what 
would happen if their Bucca won a woman's love. 
The night was dark, and the stars shone, so that 
the sea was jewelled. Grace, under the enchant- 
ment of a spell, lifted Bucca's head and looked 
into his eyes, but they were poor and flat, with 
no light in them like the light in the eyes of 
men. 

Then she took fear and awoke, and the spell 
was broken. 

The men of the Cove heard a woman's scream, 
and rushed down to the beach, where Seth was 
looking for his boat. Afar off, a mere speck, 
they saw a woman rowing, but the boat glided 
over the sea impelled by invisible power, and 
when its keel grated on the sand, the men saw 
Bucca leave the stem, and disappear. 

The fishers praised Bucca for bringing the 
boat to shore in safety; only Grace knew, and 
kept her secret, as a Cornish woman can, until 
she grew old, and then she told it to her children. 

Those who have the right sort of eyes may 
see the Bucca, whose thousand years of doom 

u 



290 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

are running out, and no woman's love has come 
to shorten it. But the little boats are disappear- 
ing from the Cove, and big boats go to and fro, 
churning up the blue water, and sounding steam 
whistles, and Bucca has told the sea-birds and all 
the fishes, the crabs and the lobsters, that when 
he disappears there will be none to rule over 
them. 

The Cove maidens are not taught to row and 
handle boats, and you may go there and never 
see a woman touch a boat or mend a net, for 
fear that Bucca may take a fancy to them, and 
^' slock " them out to sea. And they don't need 
the warning twice. 



Chapter XXXII 



HE late King Arthur left some 

tracks, on the north coast mostly. 

We heard nothing of him on the 

south. Tennyson followed the 

northern trail, and we followed 

Tennyson, for a while; and we 

started in comfort, which any one may do 

now the Tintagel hotel is running. The King 

himself was never so well accommodated on 

the spot. The Arthur zone is somewhat limited 

for mere holiday pilgrims. The Lyonesse is out 

of it now, so ^le area is about from Bude to 

Camelford, and back again, following the lines of 

desolation and tumuli. The anniversary of the 

King's birthday is still celebrated by the ringing 



292 Cornish Saints and Sinners 



of bells under the sea between Bude and Bos- 
castle. We didn't hear them, but some people 
say they have. 

We had a wet Sunday — ^a day of pitiless rain 
and gloom, a day to be remembered as long as 
human sensation of the dismal lasts. Everybody 
took to letter- writing and addressing post-cards. 
So the morning passed, and it was cheerful to 
hear some one say it would be all right after 
twelve — it was always all right then. We 
struggled on, and still it poured. There was 
some wind, but it was the rain which took 
possession of us ; and Guy suggested that the 
Gulf Stream had gone wrong this time, and was 
pouring out of the clouds. We explored the 
hotel, and tried smoking and sleeping, and sleep- 
ing and smoking, until we were awake again, 
and began to take an interest in our fellow- 
pilgrims. 

The Bookworm talked King Arthur in the 
drawing-room when only a few were present, but 
the news somehow spread through the house, and 
he soon had an audience, and everybody a Tenny- 
son in pocket. Guy said the little beggar must 
have been grinding secretly in order to surprise 
us one day. The surprise came now to all who 
had been reading up Tennyson with the view of 
following in the footsteps of Arthur from battle- 
field to battle-field, from cradle to grave, and all 
within the borders of the Duchy, to find that 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 293 

Arthurs were plentiful, and that there was one 
at least for each kingdom in Great Britain, and 
one across the water. The mythical Arthur, the 
historical Arthur, and the Tennysonian Arthur 
were "reviewed." 

A lady visitor in spectacles said Arthur was 
her ideal. One reason — she might almost say 
iAe one reason — for her coming into Cornwall 
was to visit Tintagel, his birthplace, and pay 
homage to his sepulchre, if she could find it. 

Guy said her sentiments were exalted, and 
sustained one on a wet Sunday. He was sorry 
that he did not know as much as his learned 
friend the Bookworm, but he had a sort of im- 
pression that Arthur was not happy. 

The lady sighed, and put all the fault upon 
Queen Jenefer. Arthur was her ideal, but, alas ! 
he allowed the Queen to have too much of her 
own way, and should have interfered when she 
broke the china and threw her jewels into the 
river. Guy confessed himself interested in this 
free handling of the subject, and learnt the lady's 
views on the subjection of women (within limita- 
tions, of course) to the men who found them in 
bread-and-butter and pocket-money. 

A young lady interrupted conversation by 
giving a recitation, and everybody pulled out 
Tennyson, and read marked passages to one 
another, and so the evening slipped away. Still 
it rained ; but we didn't mind it now, especially 



294 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

as we had been informed on good authority that 
it always cleared after a downpour 1 

The Bookworm enjoyed himself most when 
button-holed by an antiquarian^ who listened 
with an ear-trumpet whilst he explained that it 
was of no consequence whatever whether King 
Arthur ever existed^ because he was an idea. 
The deaf gentleman begged leave to make a 
note of so original a remark; and made more 
notes whilst the Bookworm aired his conviction 
that Arthur represented a phase — ^a passing 
phase — of civilization in Britain, and that the 
legends which grew around his name served to 
show how little society was prepared for the 
higher standards of life, known well enough, but, 
alas ! not followed. 

The Bookworm told a little story which, he 
said, was not very well known, not having been 
unearthed by the Historical MSS. Commissioners 
until Tennyson had finished his great Arthurian 
romances. 

King Arthur's Judgment. 

The King sat in his hall with his knights, 
and every one else was there who could be there 
of right, and many who had no privilege wrote 
to the King for tickets ; the stable-boys and 
scullions fought for places round the door, and 
climbed the high windows and peeped through. 



YSEULT AND TRISTAN. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 295 

\ 

for the word had gone round that the King would 
hear a matrimonial cause. The King looked 
troubled when he took his seat, because he had 
been obliged to refuse places to so many fair 
ladies who promised to lace in extra tight so as 
to take up the least possible room. But accom- 
modation was limited, and every refusal made 
him an enemy. Such is greatness ; and the King 
was troubled. 

But there was more trouble to come, as he 
well knew, whenever he sat as President for the 
trial of matrimonial causes ; and his prophetic 
soul told him that he would be outwitted in the 
end, because there was no King's Proctor, all 
ears, by his side. The case was that of Mark, 
King of Cornwall, whose wife Yseult, the Helen 
of the day, had been carried off by Tristan, 
second to none in love and war. All the parties 
were of blue blood, and the fugitives had only 
yielded to the law by force 'of arms, so the case 
was not wanting in interest for the upper crust. 

Mark opened the proceedings by saying he 
wanted his wife home again, where things were 
sixes and sevens, and dinner served anyhow; 
but Yseult refused to return because Mark was 
bilious at times, and said bilious things much 
better left unsaid, and, moreover, she liked 
Tristan best, and would stick to him, for aye and 
always. There was a fluttering of fans and 
applause in Court, which made the President sad, 



296 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

so that he threatened to have it cleared on repe- 
tition. There were no counsel learned in the 
law practising in those days before the King, so 
the parties said their say and argued as they 
pleased ; and when Tristan sidled up to Yseult 
and patted her on the back, saying, " Cheer up ! " 
the whole assembly hurrahed, and the King made 
believe not to hear it, but turned to Jenefer, his 
Queen, who whispered to Lancelot, who was a 
sort of friend of the parties all round ; but what 
they said was not audible to the reporters. 

The King was troubled. There were no 
precedents in law for a case like this, so he made 
a little speech to Mark, telling him he'd be better 
without an unwilling wife ; but Mark was bilious, 
and extra obstinate, and would have his wife, his 
whole wife, and nothing but his wife. Then 
King Arthur changed his note, and tried his 
cunning upon Tristan, who said love was above 
law, and he'd have his love. There was, then, 
nothing for the King to do but to pronounce 
judgment, which he did, dividing Yseult between 
the two ; and the order which he made was that 
she should stay with the one when the trees were 
in leaf, and with the other when they were bare, 
and to Mark, as husband, he gave first choice. 

The trial was in the autumn, and Mark was 
no fool, so he elected to take Yseult when trees 
were bare, saying to himself, " She will come now, 
and let me but get her home, and the trees will 



f 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 297 

never be in leaf for Tristan ! " But he was no 
match for Yseult, who threw herself into the arms 
of her lover, saying — 

*' There are three trees of constant hue, 
The ivy, the holly, and the yew ; 
They bear leaves summer and winter ; 
Tristan ! I am thine for ever." 

"A woman drove three chariots abreast 
through Temple Bar that time/' said Guy, laugh- 
ing. 'Mf women practised at the bar to-day, it 
would be a bit awkward for the j udges, for they'd 
make holes in judgments as wise as Solomon's/' 

We had a gentle reminder that it was time 
for all lights to be out, and the last impression 
everybody had was that the right thing to do in 
Cornwall was to make a pilgrimage to Tintagel. 



^ 



Chapter XXXIII 




HAT enlightened citizen of the 
United States, Mr. John B. Bel- 
lamy, left his name, writ large, 
in the visitors' book. He was 
keen as ever on collecting relics 
of the late King, and inquired 
if the holy grail was yet on view at the castle ? 
King Arthur's tables, plates, and punch-bowls 
not being what he wanted, he chipped some and 
left the rest The hotel clerk told us that the 
gentleman left some opinions on things in general 
behind him ; and the impression on the clerk's 
298 



KING ARTHUR'S CASTLE, TINTAGEL. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 299 

mind was that if this citizen from the States ran 
the show at Tintagel^ things would be a '^ durned 
sight different " in two shakes of a duck's tail. 

Sea and land and sky were deliciously clear 
when we started for the ruins; and the atmo- 
sphere was so buoyant that we could not bear it 
more so when walking without flying off into 
space. 

'^ I don't suppose it makes much difference to 
a fellow where he's bom, but I'd like a more 
cheerful place to live in," said Guy, throwing 
himself on the turf, and pulling his hat over his 
eyes. 

A stiff climb up slippery stone steps, with 
samphire growing perilously near, brought us to 
the '^fortress," and what there was in stone 
suggested little by way of poetry or romance. 
Guy had made up his mind beforehand to see 
something quite different — Tintern Abbey, or 
Warwick Castle, or something. But this! As 
he couldn't see what he wished for, he would 
see nothing ; so tilted his hat over his eyes to 
keep off the sun and hide disappointment We 
left him where he lay, and rambled. 

A fine bit of rock scenery, even in Cornwall, 
and worth looking at, is this. If there had only 
been a tempest, and all the elements at war, 
their chorus of thunders drowning the sea-birds' 
cries ! But to-day it was sunshine and peace, and 
nothing to tell of war but sharp-pointed rocks and 



300 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

landslips and slides telling their own tale, writ 
large. 

"This is the very place in which Arthur 
should have been bom/' said the Bookworm, 
when Guy, tired of his own discontent, joined us. 

" I don't see any reason for it," said Guy. 

"No I When Arthur first opened his eyes 
upon this rock, what impression do you think he 
received ? This was a fit cradle for great things 
in a great mind, and this man was great." 

'* Never lived at all, perhaps." 

" I don't care. This was a fit cradle for an 
allegory of war between What Is and What 
Should be, and Arthur is as the light shining in 
darkness." 

" Have it your own way," said Guy ; " but 
wouldn't some other place do just as well ? " 

" Quite, if the first impressions of the newly 
born were of eternal struggle. Arthur was born 
for the world, and not for a parish." 

" I think we'd better clear," said Guy, sharply. 
" Here's the lady in specs., and the antiquarian 
with the trumpet, and the whole crew. They've 
all got their Tennysons, and I can't go over it 
again. If the place was only a bit like it, I 
wouldn't mind." 



Dozmary Pool is a cheerless place at its best ; 
it is situated in a sad-coloured region, wherein 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 301 

stones grow best, and everything that has life 
struggles for existence. This is the place that 
Tennyson selected for the King's death, and the 
mysterious disappearance of his famous sword 
" Excalibur." In Arthur's time the mere was 
better worth calling a lake than now, but the 
stones and barren lands and hills and general 
"wishtness" of the place are pretty much the 
same. The locality is marked as about one 
thousand feet above sea-level, and in winter the 
place is said to be more breezy than 'pleasant. 
They have been draining the pool a bit lately, 
but no trace has yet been discovered of '* Ex- 
calibur '' — one day a syndicate may be formed to 
dredge the mere. An arm ''clothed in white 
samite, mystic, beautiful,'' holding King Arthur's 
sword with jewelled hilt, and every jewel worth 
a king's ransom, would be worth a trifle, and 
make the poet's reputation as an historian. Some 
people are never satisfied until they can see and 
handle things. 

Guy touched the water to see if it was wet, 
and, finding it real, was encouraged to sit down 
and discuss things in a matter-of-fact sort of way. 
He said we could start with facts here, for here 
was a mere, and the water was wet Then, 
there were rushes growing on the margin of the 
pool, and when the wind blew, no doubt they 
made rush music — sad, mournful music — a sort of 
place where a fellow who had had a good licking 



302 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

in battle would come iand hide, and die, if he 
could, and no one to see him do it. 

" I like this story : there's something human 
about it, and it was a bit rough on Sir Bedivere 
to be told to chuck away the only thing King 
Arthur had got I feel for him. Only fancy 
being told to throw away the only available asset 
to pay funeral expenses! It was very human 
on the part of Sir Bedivere to want to keep 
Excalibur, and I don't suppose that any of 
Arthur's friends and next-of-kin believed him 
when he said he threw it into the mere. He 
said he did, and we'll let it go at that ; and if it 
should be dredged up one day, why, of course, 
the good Sir Bedivere will leave the court 
without a stain upon his character." 

The sun was westerning; a slight breeze 
ruffled the waters of the mere and the dry reeds 
rustled. The Bookworm said it must have been 
a fit place for a great temptation, and he was 
glad that Tennyson made it appear that Sir 
Bedivere was a man of honour. A chough 
skimmed across the water, and the Bookworm 
said this was a strange coincidence — we were 
talking about King Arthur, and the very bird 
which legend said his soul inhabited came upon 
the scene. This was only wanted to make the 
wild place a sanctuary. 

" Nothing but legend," said Guy, quickly. 
" Wherever you are in this county, it's nothing 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 303 

but legend. You walk on legend, and just 
breathe it all the time." 

*' Perhaps you never heard this one," said the 
Bookworm. " There^s time to tell it" 

" Go ahead, old man," said Guy. " Another 
added to the number won't count much." 

King Arthur's Chough. 

Well, then, you know, said the Bookworm, 
that King Arthur was married to one Jenefer 
(sometimes called Guinevere, which is the same 
thing), and that Merlin was present at the wedding. 
Everybody was having a good time, and Merlin 
slipped out and consulted the stars. He had a 
monopoly in that business, and was paid special 
fees by all the swagger people who wanted to 
know what trouble they'd be likely to get into if 
they but went the right way to work about it 
Well, Merlin slipped out of the castle, and ran 
against a young gentleman singing, ^* The night 
is clear, and I am all alone," underneath the 
royal bridal chamber. " You'd better go and sing 
indoors," said Merlin, making a note of the fact 
that this was Launcelot, a young sprig of nobility 
who thought no small beer of himself in those 
days. He was an army man, and fond of poach- 
ing. Merlin read something in the stars that 
night which he told an old chough, who knew 
more of the black art than any other bird. This 



304 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

chough Merlin gave the King as a wedding 
present. The bird was as black as a raven in 
those daySy and used to live so long that it was 
only at its prime at a hundred years. 

Queen Jenefer was a society woman of her day, 
and all her new dresses, and how she looked in 
them, were described in the smart papers. People 
used to fight for the privilege of attending her 
garden parties, and she was seen at all the big race 
meetings and tournaments. The King was a busy 
man, and when things were going on used to say 
to Launcelot, a sort of aide-de-camp in chief, 
"Just you look after the Queen at the Royal 
Footballers this afternoon," or " Give her a turn 
at golf." This suited Launcelot down to the 
ground, and having a nice tenor voice he was 
wont to sing, "Meet me in the garden." The 
Queen liked to hear him sing, and, when her 
temper was right, used to clap her hands and 
cry Bis very prettily. 

The King was a very busy man, but there was 
always some one to obstruct and put " blocking 
motions" in his way, so that he couldn't show 
much prize fruit at the end of a session for his 
pains. He was good at fighting, and held the 
champion's belt against all comers between John 
o'Groat's House and Land's End. The Queen 
had it all her own way at home, and when tired 
of working for bazaars, collecting for missionaries, 
and presiding over mothers' meetings, used to 



JENEFER AND LAUNCELOT. 



•M 

4 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 305 

look in the big mirror and pity herself, because, 
being fair and plump and goodly to look upon, 
there was no Arthur at hand to pinch her cheeks 
and tell her so. She grew tired of hearing how 
**good" Arthur was, and would exclaim — 

'^ What care I how good he be 1 " 

Then she wrote to the papers, asking whether life 
was worth living, or if it was only a sell ? 

The old chough which Merlin gave the King 
was the wireless messenger between the King 
and Queen, and carried messages to and fro. 
Launcelot was left behind, as usual now, when the 
King went on a fighting tour in Wales. He had, 
however, a fit of the '* blues " just then, and the 
Queen put him on milk and soda and dry biscuit 
diet, so he soon got well, and trouble began. They 
played hide-and-seek, and found each other in the 
gardens, and quarrelled and made it up again, 
until the Queen had fond eyes for none but 
Launcelot ; and the old chough hopped about the 
Court, and was kept waiting for a return message 
which, when he got it, wasn't worth the carrying, 
so light of love the words were. The old chough 
had a friend at Court, a dwarf, who played the 
fool, and skipped about like a withered leaf, and 
learnt a good deal more than people wot of. One 
day he tied a paper around the chough's leg, 
which opened the King's eyes when he read it ; 



3o6 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

and he whispered something to the chough, which 
made him turn red about the beak. 

The King was still in Wales, and his sword 
ran crimson. A council of war broke up in con- 
fusion, all through one Murdock, a bosom friend 
of Launcelot's, putting his spoke in all the King's 
plans. It was Murdock's turn to sleep on the 
mat outside the King's chamber, and the old 
chough, acting on information received, kept his 
eye on Murdock. The King was sweetly dream- 
ing of home and Jenefer, his Queen, when the 
chough woke him. 

" What's up ? " asked the King. 

" Come and see," croaked the chough, hopping 
towards the door. 

Then King Arthur noticed that the old chough 
was crimson about the feet and legs, and great 
drops of blood stained the floor, and he soon 
found the reason, for the chough had slain Mur- 
dock in his sleep, and so saved the life of the 
King, as was proved by correspondence in secret 
cypher found in the traitor's breast-pocket Then 
the King called all the Court together, and in 
their presence knighted the chough ; and from 
that day the chough family have had red beaks 
and legs. 

When King Arthur died, his soul entered into 
the body of Sir Chough, his old familiar and pre- 
server, and now, whenever he visits the scenes of 
past shame and glory, it is in the body of a chough. 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 307 

and that is why the Cornish would not kill a 
chough in the old days^ when this story was fresh 
in their minds. 

" Now the chough is protected by Act of 
Parliament/' said Guy. 

•411-protected," replied the Bookworm. "What 
Act of Parliament is so effective as a feeling of 
reverence consecrated by centuries ? You destroy 
tradition at your own peril.'' 

" All right ; the story isn't bad," said Guy. 
" I thought we were going to have something 
tasty about Queen Jenefer and Launcelot" 

" No, the story is only concerned with show- 
ing how and why a black chough got a red beak 
and legs, and transmitted the distinction to the 
whole family of choughs. If you want the story 
of the whitewashing of Jenefer, you must go to 
Tennyson." 

** I know — the Queen and the little maid that 
in convent did dwell. It is very nice reading, 
even if you don't believe it," said Guy. 

The popular fancy buried King Arthur in a 
long mound in the Camelford district — about the 
bleakest and most sterile in the county. There 
is an- ancient British fortification here, and here 
the old people thought a fit and proper place for 
the resting-place of a King for ever at war against 
men and the age he lived in. But no legend 
seems to have fastened on this spot as the centre 
of mystic visitation by red-legged choughs, or the 



3o8 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

shadowy repentant forms of Jenefer and Launce- 
lot, and all those who failed to keep the oaths of 
chastity and the higher life. Only here and all 
around — a land of mountain, bog, and moor, bleak 
and inhospitable — is a vast burial-ground of 
ancient Britons in kist and tumuli, rude dwellings 
and entrenchments. Here King Arthur may lie 
and sleep as soundly as in the " Vale of Avalon/' 
the poet's paradise for a grand soul bom before 
its time ; but when legend is so silent, history is 
doubtful in this land. 

We reached Camelford^ and at night the 
piskies sealed our eyes in sleep too restful even 
for the shadow of a dream. 



Chapter XXXIV 



"TIE knew the voice. Our American 
friend, John B. Bellamy, was in 
form, and held a select audience 
interested in the smoke-room of 
the Royal at Plymouth. This is 
what we heard him say — 




3IO Cornish Saints and Sinners 

"Why, gentlemen, the people of this old 
country don't know a good thing when they've 
got it What is it, all of it, from the Tamar to 
the Land's End ? A nice little estate in size for 
a cattle ranch out West, with everything on it for 
making a pile. Why, gentlemen, every breath of 
air is worth dollars, your skies are worth dollars, 
your seas are worth dollars, all your old piskies 
and saints and giants are worth dollars — just ask 
John B. Bellamy to run the show. 

"Why, gentlemen, we, in America, make 
dollars; we can't help it. Then we get tired, 
but must go on because we have nothing else to 
do. A man may make dollars in the States faster 
than he can give'm away. I know a man who 
has charity-cheques signed by an electric machine, 
and still his pile grows, and he says it'll pay to 
give away all he possibly can now, rather than 
let his heirs pay death duties, which will be quite 
a sum on his little concern ; for he b a small man 
compared with some. These are the men who 
want a place like this to come to when tired of 
pile-raising. You may say, gentlemen, some other 
place your side of the pond will do just as well ; 
but it won't You can^t work in this country ; 
John B. Bellamy has tried it Why, gentlemen, 
in the States you must work ; and when the day 
ends, you don't know you've finished, but go to 
bed looking for a job ; but here, there's something 
in the air, and you just don't want to work, and 



Cornish Saints and Sinners 311 

don't care if the whole durned sub-lunary universe 
tumbles into space. That's how I feel. 

"Just put up a big board, gentlemeUi and 
advertise ' Cornwall to Let : leases of life re- 
newed to men with dollar-piles and tired of trying 
to be tired.' You'll have'm tumbling over in 
shiploads, for it'll suit their complaint, just like 
Lancashire air suits cotton. It'll just suit the 
Cornish complaint for them to come, now that 
' fish, tin, and copper ' aren't all flourishing. 

"I don't want to work here. I tell you 
honestly, I don't want to work. When I return, 
I'll tell my friends that I've located the place in 
which I don't want to work; and all the gold 
bugs and pile-drivers will come round and want 
the receipt I'll just tell them it's the Cornish 
air, and Cornish skies, and Cornish cream, and 
Cornish everything — the place where Old Nick 
built churches, just for want of something to do. 
That'll be a new sensation in the States for men 
with piles wanting an extension of time to look 
around before the next-of-kin pay the death 
duties. 

''No, gentlemen, no thanks, if you please. 
These are the honest opinions of John B. Bellamy, 
citizen, U.S.A., and if you want a man to run the 
show, why, that address will find him." 

• « • « • 

Paddington once more. 
I " Evening papers — Extra Specials. Autumn 



312 Cornish Saints and Sinners 

Sessions. Panic on Stock Exchange. Revolu- 
tions. Anarchies ! " 

" Great Scott ! Where on earth have we been 
living ? " said Guy, excitedly. 

"Hi! Boy! Papers! AUofm?" 



l^JX- 



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